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Fred's Aug sales in line with expectations

Sep '07
Fred's Inc reported record sales for the for the four-week and seven-month periods ended September 1, 2007.

Fred's total sales for the month increased 4% to $129.0 million from $124.2 million in August 2006. Comparable store sales for the month rose 1.7% on top of a 6.3% increase in August last year.

Total sales for the year-to-date period increased 5% to $995.9 million compared with $948.0 million in the year-earlier period.

On a comparable store basis, sales increased 1.4% through the first seven months of fiscal 2007 compared with a 2.6% gain in the year-earlier period.

Commenting on the announcement, Michael J. Hayes, Chief Executive Officer, said, "Although we continued to see a drop-off at the end of the month, August sales were in line with the expectations we outlined last week in our quarterly conference call."

"We were pleased with the performance of our pets and stationery categories, two of our refresher program departments that have continued to gain momentum to replace sales from product categories that we have exited as part of this initiative."

"Our men's apparel, domestics, lawn and garden, small appliances, food, and pharmacy departments also performed better in August."

Continuing with its strategy to close underperforming stores, Fred's closed three stores in August, bringing the total number of stores closed so far this year to 19 and four pharmacies.

The Company expects to close one to two more stores in the remaining months of fiscal 2007 and plans to open an additional 18 stores this year.

Fred's Inc operates 698 discount general merchandise stores, including 24 franchised Fred's stores in the southeastern United States.

Fred's Inc

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