Shares of Fred’s Pharmacy were up more than 12.5% through morning trading hours Wednesday. The spike comes in the wake of the company’s second-quarter earnings announcement, which saw Fred’s report a narrower-than-expected loss.
Fred’s reported an adjusted quarterly loss of 15 cents per share, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of an 18 cent loss. The company posted revenues of $508 million, which were down 4.2% year-over-year but ahead of our consensus estimate of $507 million.
Investors also seem to be reacting to an improvement in the company’s comparable store sales. Comps were down about 0.3% in the second quarter, which was an improvement from the 2.0% slump recorded in the year-ago period.
“Our overall comparable store sales represent the best quarterly performance in the past year,” said CEO Michael K. Bloom. “In addition, EPS and EBITDA, excluding non-operating charges, improved over the prior year period. We are starting to gain momentum and are seeing progress across the business.”
In addition to its report, Fred’s announced that Heath Freeman, the president of Alden Global Capital, would be replacing Thomas J. Tashjian as chairman of the board of directors.
“Heath brings significant retail, turnaround, and financial expertise and we determined that as Chairman, Heath will bring invaluable insights and experience as the Company continues to execute its turnaround strategy,” said Bloom.
Alden Global Capital is the largest investor in Fred’s. Tashjian, a 16-year veteran of the company’s board, is retiring.
Currently, Fred’s is a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) and is sporting “F” grades for Value and Momentum in our Style Scores system. Heading into today, shares of Fred’s were down more than 68% on the year.
Fred's, Inc. operates discount general merchandise stores in a number states in the southeastern United States. Fred's stores generally serve low, middle and fixed income families located in small to medium sized towns.
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