Although comparable-store sales at Fred’s declined slightly in May, the company said sales strengthened in the last week of the month thanks to the first ad in its new marketing and branding program, designed to increase traffic and heighten customer awareness of category diversity.
The company’s total sales for the month stayed flat at $151.9 million, compared with $152.3 million in May last year. Comparable-store sales for the month declined 0.4% compared with a 0.5% decrease in the same period last year.
Fred's total sales for the first four months of fiscal 2014 decreased 0.6% to $650.2 million compared with $653.8 million for the same period last year. On a comparable store basis, year-to-date sales declined 1.5% versus a 1.1% decrease for the year-earlier period.
"The initial results [of the marketing and branding program] were encouraging,” said CEO Bruce A. Efird, “and we think this new program will be effective in driving traffic and sales growth as we work toward full implementation of the marketing program by mid-July. Together with the updating of our store layout to emphasize the convenience advantages of our 15,000-sq.-ft. store, it will better position Fred's to serve more of the need-based categories and provide customers with faster and easier shopping experiences."
Fred's operates 704 discount general merchandise stores, including 21 franchised Fred's stores, in the southeastern United States.