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Taxes reduce Fred’s Q1 net income

BY Dan Berthiaume

Memphis, Tenn. – Fred’s Inc. cited higher income taxes as contributing to declining net income in the first quarter of fiscal 2014. Net income totaled $6.1 million, down 46% from $11.4 million in the same quarter in the previous year.

Fred’s total sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2014 were $498.3 million, down slightly from $501.5 million for the first quarter last year. Same-store sales for the quarter declined 1.9%.

"As we outlined in our April sales release, the first quarter was a challenging period for Fred’s due to a number of headwinds,” said Bruce A. Efird, CEO. “These challenges included intense competitive promotions and poor weather throughout much of the spring, which affected general merchandising. In addition to the sales impact of these issues, we also encountered extraordinary inflationary pressures on generic drugs in the first quarter, as we forecasted in our year-end 2013 press release.”

Fred’s is planning an overhaul of its stores and marketing strategy that includes a new front end, adjacencies and fixtures in late June, with substantial completion early in the fourth quarter and the balance in first quarter 2015. The store layout will better serve the needs of shoppers making convenience-based trips, which Fred’s sees as an area for growth.

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Frederick’s of Hollywood shareholders OK going private

BY Dan Berthiaume

Hollywood, Calif. – Frederick’s of Hollywood Group Inc. shareholders approved, at a special meeting of shareholders held May 28, the previously disclosed merger agreement that provides for the acquisition of the company. The merger was approved by more two-thirds of the aggregate voting power of the company’s common stock.

The total transaction is valued at approximately $24.8 million. The agreement calls for Frederick’s to be acquired by a group consisting of HGI Funding LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Harbinger Group Inc., other common and preferred shareholders who as a group beneficially own approximately 88.9% of the company’s common stock.

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Nxt-ID release smart wallet

BY Dan Berthiaume

Shelton, Conn. – Nxt-ID Inc., a biometric authentication company focused on the m-commerce market, is releasing its next generation smart wallet, Wocket. The Wocket works anywhere credit cards are accepted and only works with the user’s biometric stamp of approval.

Credit, debit, ATM, loyalty, gift, ID, membership, insurance, ticket, emergency, medical, business, contacts, coupon, and virtually any card can be protected on Wocket. More than 10,000 cards, records, coupons, etc. and 100 voice commands can also be stored on Wocket.

“Today is milestone for both NxT-ID and consumers that are concerned about the security of their wallet,” said Gino Pereira, CEO. “We designed the Wocket specifically for the consumer of today that is still not willing to put all their payment and identity info on their smartphone. We believe Wocket is the solution that addresses security issues that consumers care about but still is convenient and easy to use.”

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