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May sales rise for Fred’s

BY Allison Cerra

MEMPHIS — Fred’s experienced a boost in monthly and comparable-store sales during the month of May, the retailer said Tuesday.

Total sales for the four-week period ended May 26 rose 6% to $152.1 million, compared with May 2011, while comps rose 1.3%, compared with an increase of 0.2% in the same period last year. During the period, Fred’s opened one new store.

"We are pleased to report a solid start to our second fiscal quarter, with total and comparable sales both at the high end of expectations for May," Fred’s CEO Bruce Efird said. "As we discussed in our recent earnings conference call, we initiated several new product programs late in the first quarter, and these initiatives have begun to contribute to higher general merchandise sales. Additionally, our pharmacy department continued its strong performance, against the broader shift of brand to generic drugs. We are confident that our initiatives in general merchandise will lead to an improvement in comparable-store sales going forward. Based on this expectation, along with the improved performance of our newer stores, we remain optimistic about the momentum developing in our business for the second quarter and the remainder of the year."

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Hot, spicy flavors boost presence in food, beverage market

BY Allison Cerra

ROCKVILLE, Md. — Hot and spicy flavors are on the minds of consumers, according to Packaged Facts and San Francisco-based strategic food and beverage agency CCD Innovation.

In the new report, "Heat & Spice: Culinary Trend Mapping Report," the companies said that these flavors have taken on a new role and are being positioned as a budget-friendly and healthy way to revamp everyday meals. Such flavor trends on the horizon include:

  • Smoked foods, which are moving beyond the traditional fare of such items as bacon;

  • Aleppo peppers (named after a Syrian city), along with Hatch chiles — a species of cultivated chile peppers grown in Hatch, Mexico — are on the verge of becoming all the rage;

  • Fermented chile-based condiment gochujang, a staple in Korean cuisine, is becoming more widely available;

  • Spicy beverages are making a mark in the category;

  • Spices are an important part of being healthy is taking deeper root in the American marketplace. The key to tapping into this shift is creating opportunities for consumers to incorporate healthy spices more extensively into their diets in a tasteful, natural and fresh way, the research said; and

  • The popularity and prevalence of buffalo sauce in all day parts and diets lands it at "mainstream status," Packaged Facts and CCD Innovation said.

"Now more than ever heat and spice can play an upfront strategic role to differentiate familiar products or to attract specific consumer segments and demographics," CCD Innovation CEO Kimberly Egan said. "There are endless ways for restaurant operators and food manufacturers to mix and match flavorful ingredients to enhance the consumer experience and drive powerful innovation."

For more information on "Heat & Spice: Culinary Trend Mapping Report," click here.

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BioPlus promotes Shelley Moore to lead bleeding disorders program

BY Alaric DeArment

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. — BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy has appointed a new person to head its bleeding disorders program, the company said Tuesday.

BioPlus announced the promotion of Shelley Moore to the position of national director of hemophilia. Moore already has served as head of the company’s bleeding disorders program for Tennessee and has six years’ nursing experience and a career specialty in bleeding disorders.

"BioPlus continues to see patients respond better when they have close contact with our local nurse specialists," BioPlus chief strategic officer Russell Gay said. "The comfort they have with friendly and skilled professionals like Shelley enriches their lives and quietly saves healthcare dollars by reducing hospitalization and drug waste. We all win with Shelley’s approach of high-touch care."


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