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Fred’s Reports 4Q Loss on Charges

BY CSA STAFF

Memphis, Tenn. Fred’s Inc. said Thursday it swung to a fiscal fourth-quarter loss due to shrinking sales and charges for closing 75 stores and 22 pharmacies.

Fred’s loss was $4.4 million in the three months ended Feb. 2, compared to a profit of $9.2 million in the year-ago period.

The most recent quarter included $9.9 million in charges for store closures. Fred’s also experienced a 2.5% drop in same-store sales and a 2% drop in adjusted overall sales. Fred’s total fourth-quarter sales were $494.1 million, down 8% from $535.6 million in the year-ago period, which had an extra week because of a calendar shift.

For the full year, Fred’s profit dropped nearly 60% to $10.7 million from $26.7 million. Revenue edged up to $1.78 billion from $1.77 billion.

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Pep Boys posts 4Q sales loss

BY CSA STAFF

PHILADELPHIA The Pep Boys announced that sales for the fourth quarter ended Feb. 2 were $517.6 million, as compared to the $578 million recorded for the fourth quarter ended February 3, 2007. Excluding the 14th week of fourth quarter 2006, comparable-merchandise sales decreased 4.4% and comparable-service revenue decreased 1%.

The company reported a fourth quarter net loss of $18.5 million, or 36 cents per share – basic and diluted, from net earning of $7.9 million, or 15 cents per share – basic and diluted, for the same period last year. According to Pep Boys, the net loss included $8.5 million of margin reductions related to the exiting of non-core merchandise, $6.2 million in store closure costs and $6 million in debt pre-payment costs.

Sales for the fiscal year ended Feb. 2 were $2.14 billion as compared to the $2.24 billion recorded last year. Excluding the 53rd week of 2006, comparable-merchandise sales decreased 4.2% and comparable-service revenue increased 1.8%.

Net loss increased from $7.07 million, or 13 cents per share – basic and diluted, to  $37.4 million, or 72 cents per share – basic and diluted. 

President and ceo Jeff Rachor commented, “While the difficult economic backdrop created sales challenges during the fourth quarter, we are pleased to confirm that our progress to date leaves us well positioned to complete this first important step in our strategic plan by the beginning of the second quarter of this year.

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ALDI launches ‘smart’ ad campaign

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK ALDI has launched a new television campaign in the United States.

The four commercials center on the themes of “musical,” “soccer mom,” “extended family” and “dinner party.” Each one presents a different scenario, i.e. shopping for a big family, or putting together the perfect dinner party, and ties into the ALDI motto of “shopping smart.”

The commercials can be viewed on ALDI’s Web site.

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