As Fred’s continues to see improvements in pharmacy sales and a positive impact from front of store remodels, these factors were still not enough to allow the company to grow sales in the first quarter.
For the period ended April 29, net sales were $532.3 million, down 3.1% from sales of $549.5 million in the same period in the prior year. Comparable store sales for the first quarter declined 1.2% compared to an increase of 1% in the first quarter of the previous fiscal year. Comparable store sales in the first quarter of 2017 included a negative 1.4% impact as a result of the sale of low productive discontinued inventory versus the first quarter of 2016.
The company recorded a net loss of approximately $36.5 million or $0.98 per share, which included charges totaling $45 million, or $0.92 per share after tax covering costs for the proposed acquisition of Rite Aid stores, expenses pertaining to the closing of 39 underperforming stores as well as other issues.
Michael Bloom, Fred’s CEO, noted that the company continues to see strong results from its pharmacy health care transition as well as its front store remodel programming that will be accelerated in the back of 2017, which he noted is improving the customer experience and driving sales.
“Notably, the comp sales of our remodeled stores with our new prototype are performing approximately 4% better than the chain average through April,” he said.