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VOL. 127 | NO. 56 | Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Fred's Q4 Profit Rises 14 Pct.

AP

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MEMPHIS (AP) – Fred's posted a 14 percent jump in fourth-quarter net income Wednesday after the discount-store operator boosted customer traffic, opened 16 new stores and seven pharmacies and recorded a favorable tax adjustment.

For the quarter ended Jan. 28, Fred's earned $9.8 million, or 27 cents per share, up from $8.6 million, or 22 cents per share, in the same quarter of 2010.

Excluding the boost from the tax adjustment, the company posted an adjusted profit of 25 cents per share for the recent quarter.

Revenue rose 2.5 percent to $497.6 million from $485.6 million, largely as a result of the addition of new stores, which also included 24 pharmacies.

Sales at stores open at least a year, however, were flat.

Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 24 cents per share on $498.4 million in revenue, according to a FactSet poll.

For the full year 2011, Fred's earned $33.4 million, or 87 cents per share, up from $29.6 million, or 75 cents per share, in 2010. Revenue rose to $1.88 billion from $1.84 billion.

For the first quarter of 2012, Fred's said it expects to post a profit of between 26 and 28 cents per share on a sales increase of between 3 percent and 5 percent. Based on the company's year-ago sales, the guidance implies first quarter 2012 sales of between $498.9 million and $508.6 million.

Analysts polled by FactSet expect a profit of 28 cents per share on $504.6 million in revenue.

For the full year 2012, the company projected a profit of 96 cents to $1.04 per share, while analysts expect a profit of 98 cents per share.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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