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Fred’s net income increases 16%

BY Allison Cerra

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fred’s net income increased 16% to $9.5 million, or 24 cents per diluted share, compared with net income of $8.2 million, or 21 cents per diluted share in the year-earlier period.

The retailer said that total sales rose 3% to $484.4 million from $471.6 million for the same period last year. For comps, Fred’s reported a 1% rise on top of a 2.2% increase for the first quarter last year.

Fred’s gross profit for first quarter 2011 increased 1% to $137.9 million from $136.9 million in the prior-year period.

During the first quarter, Fred’s opened one new store and four pharmacy express locations and closed seven underperforming stores and one pharmacy express location as part of its 2011 operating plan. Additionally, one franchise also was closed during the quarter. The company also remodeled and refreshed 56 stores with its new Core 5 elements in the quarter, bringing the total stores upgraded to 264 during 2010 and 2011.

Looking ahead, Fred’s expects its earnings per share to increase between 8% and 23% for the second quarter to a range of 14 cents to 16 cents.

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Giant Food donates funds to schools through A+ School Rewards program

BY Alaric DeArment

LANDOVER, Md. — Giant Food is donating nearly $2 million to schools in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and the District of Columbia as part of its 2010-2011 A+ School Rewards program, the Royal Ahold banner said Wednesday.

The program, which has operated for 22 years, allows customers to support school programs every time they use their Giant card at a Giant Food store.

“Since 1989, Giant has awarded more than $83 million to schools across the Mid-Atlantic region through A+,” Giant-Landover public and community relations manager Jamie Miller said. “We’re very proud to support more than 2,200 local schools and give back to the communities we’re so privileged to serve.”

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Giant-Carlisle opens gas station near store

BY Alaric DeArment

CARLISLE, Pa. — Royal Ahold banner Giant-Carlisle has opened a new gas station near a store in Lancaster, Pa., the supermarket chain said.

The company opened the station on Thursday morning, within walking distance of the Giant Food Store on Centerville Road.

The gas station features a new, 1,000-sq.-ft. “grab and go” kiosk, which will offer products for motorists, such as chilled beverages, coffee, snacks, car products, a lottery machine, an ATM and Giant-brand milk and bread.

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