Fred's Increases Dividend, Expands Buyback Plans

AP

MEMPHIS (AP) – Discount retailer Fred's Inc. announced Thursday that it is increasing its quarterly cash dividend and expanding its stock buyback plans.

Fred's, which operates 700 discount stores in the southeastern United States, is raising its quarterly cash dividend by 20 percent. It will issue a dividend of 6 cents per share on March 15 to shareholders of record as of March 1. That is up from its most recent dividend of 5 cents per share.

This is the fourth consecutive year Fred's has raised its dividend.

The company's board also authorized an expansion of its existing stock repurchase program to it can buy back 3.6 million more shares or approximately 10 percent of its currently outstanding shares.

Fred's has repurchased most of the shares authorized under a plan approved in 2007 covering 4 million shares. The company has roughly 36.8 million shares outstanding.

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