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fred’s PHARMACY DECLARES QUARTERLY CASH DIVIDEND OF $0.06 PER SHARE

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (February 16, 2017) – Fred’s, Inc. (“Fred’s Pharmacy” or “the Company”) (NASDAQ: FRED) today announced that its Board of Directors has declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.06 per share. The dividend is payable on March 15, 2017, to shareholders of record as of March 1, 2017. read more

fred’s Pharmacy Announces Senior Management Appointments

MEMPHIS, Tenn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Fred’s Inc. (“Fred’s Pharmacy” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ:FRED) today announced three additions to its senior management team. Gregory Froton has been appointed Senior Vice President, Merchandising, General Merchandise and Kimberley Felice-Dooley has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Merchandising – Consumables, both effective immediately. These appointments follow the recent appointment in December 2016 of Steve Wuebker as Senior Vice President, Supply Chain.

Michael K. Bloom, Chief Executive Officer, commented, “We are thrilled to have Greg, Kimberley, and Steve join Fred’s Pharmacy. Their extensive retail pharmacy experience and knowledge of our industry make them valuable additions to the leadership team in areas critical to our business. As we continue to focus on strengthening our world-class team, Fred’s is well-positioned to execute our transformational strategy, accelerate growth, and enhance our value proposition for the benefit of all our stakeholders.”

Bloom continued, “Gregory brings to the Company an impressive track record of producing innovative merchandise and customer focused solutions to drive sales and margin. Steve is a leading global operations executive with expertise in all aspects of operations management, including strategy, FP&A, and large-scale business transformation project management, and he has already proven an effective and valuable member of the Fred’s Pharmacy team since his appointment a few months ago. Additionally, since joining Fred’s Pharmacy in July 2016, Kimberley has contributed her extensive retail experience and will continue to be a vital component to our consumables growth going forward. I look forward to continuing to work closely with these highly qualified individuals as we implement upgrades to our infrastructure and continue the optimization of our business.”

Gregory Froton

Mr. Froton brings over 30 years retail experience to Fred’s Pharmacy. His merchandising expertise and knowledge spans over multiple retail channels including drug, mass, department and specialty formats. Mr. Froton worked for CVS Health for over 17 years holding the positions of Category Manager, Divisional Merchandising Manager, and most recently was Vice President General Merchandise and International Sourcing.

Mr. Froton holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Boston College.

Kimberley Felice-Dooley

Ms. Felice-Dooley has held various leadership positions with CVS from 2006 until 2016, including Director of Category Management Skincare & Fragrance and Director of Category Management Candy. Prior to joining CVS in 2006, Ms. Felice-Dooley served in varying capacities at Federated Department Stores, beginning in 1997.

Ms. Felice-Dooley studied Textiles, Merchandising and Design at the University of Rhode Island and Interior Design at Mount Ida College.

Steve Wuebker

Mr. Wuebker most recently served as President and CEO of Prospect Brands. Prior, Mr. Wuebker held positions with Ralph Lauren Corporation from 2006 to 2015, including Senior Vice President, Global Supply Chain. Mr. Wuebker also has experience with Gap, Inc., Toys ‘R Us, and PepsiCo.

Mr. Wuebker holds a Bachelors of Arts degree from the University of Cincinnati and Masters degrees from George Washington University and Cranfield University. read more

fred’s PHARMACY REPORTS JANUARY SALES

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (February 2, 2017) – Fred’s Inc. (“Fred’s Pharmacy” or “the Company”) NASDAQ: FRED) today reported sales for the four week fiscal month of January 2017, fourth quarter 2016 and fiscal year 2016 ended January 28, 2017.

• January 2017: Total sales for the month decreased 5.6% year-over-year to $148.1 million from $156.9 million in January 2016. Comparable store sales for the month declined 4.8% versus an increase of 0.7% in the year-earlier period.

• Fourth Quarter 2016: Total sales for the fourth quarter of 2016 decreased 4.3% year-over-year to $530.7 million from $554.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. On a comparable store basis, fourth quarter sales decreased 3.6% versus an increase of 1.7% in the year-earlier period.

• Fiscal Year 2016: Total sales for fiscal 2016 decreased 1.1% year-over-year to $2.126 billion from $2.151 billion in fiscal year 2015. On a comparable store basis, fiscal 2016 declined 2.2% versus an increase of 1.5% for the year-earlier period.

Commenting on the announcement, Michael K. Bloom, Chief Executive Officer, said, “We are pleased to report that comparable sales for our specialty pharmacy business trended positive in January 2017, reflecting the success of initiatives we have implemented over the past year to offset the industry-wide slowdown in Hepatitis C drugs and diversify our specialty offering. The progress we made in specialty pharmacy was offset in retail pharmacy by the effects of winter weather events, a slow cold and flu season, and continued reimbursement pressure. In our front store, we experienced softer sales related to continuing challenges that we have discussed previously, such as issues related to transitioning several key categories to a third-party distributor, the impact of reduced SNAP benefits, unseasonably warm weather, and intense competitive conditions. Additionally, we encountered a new, but transitory challenge in January: the delay of refunds for taxpayers receiving an earned income tax credit or an additional child tax credit, which we believe disproportionately affected our customers and, as a result, discretionary sales throughout our store. However, these refunds should be released on February 15, which we anticipate will have a favorable impact on February sales. Outside of competitive challenges, we estimate the impact of other front store issues reduced January comparable sales by approximately 2.4%.

“We continue to take a long-term view of our business and the opportunities ahead as a significant provider of healthcare services and value merchandise in the markets that we serve,” Bloom added. “Our confidence in this new vision remains firm, as does our enthusiasm for the potential we see to grow sales, traffic and profits, and in turn, drive higher returns for our shareholders.” read more

fred’s Pharmacy Comments on Extension to Merger Agreement

MEMPHIS, Tenn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Fred’s Inc. (“Fred’s Pharmacy” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ:FRED) today issued the following statement regarding the agreement between Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (NASDAQ:WBA) and Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE:RAD) under which Walgreens and Rite Aid have entered into an amendment and extension of their previously announced definitive merger agreement:

Fred’s Pharmacy affirms that the asset purchase agreement it entered into on December 19, 2016 with Walgreens and Rite Aid remains in effect. As previously disclosed, to the extent the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) requests that additional stores be sold, and Walgreens agrees to sell such stores, Fred’s Pharmacy has agreed to buy those stores. The amendment and extension of the Walgreens-Rite Aid merger agreement reinforces the Company’s confidence that the transaction is in the mutual best interest of Fred’s Pharmacy and all of its shareholders. Fred’s Pharmacy continues to work with the FTC, Rite Aid and Walgreens to complete the transaction, and looks forward to realizing the considerable benefits the transaction will bring to customers, patients, payors, supplier partners, team members and shareholders. read more

fred’s PHARMACY REPORTS DECEMBER SALES

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (January 5, 2017) – Fred’s Inc. (“Fred’s Pharmacy” or “the Company”) NASDAQ: FRED) today reported sales for the five week fiscal month of December and the 11-month year-to-date period ended December 31, 2016.

Fred’s Pharmacy’s total sales for the month decreased 3.9% to $222.9 million from $232.0 million in December 2015. Comparable store sales for the month declined 3.4% compared with an increase of 2.4% in the year-earlier period.

Fred’s Pharmacy’s total sales for the year-to-date period decreased 0.8% to $1.978 billion versus $1.994 billion for the same period last year. On a comparable store basis, year-to-date sales declined 2.0% versus an increase of 1.5% for the year-earlier period.

Commenting on the announcement, Michael K. Bloom, Chief Executive Officer, said, “Our Pharmacy department saw a 2% increase in comparable prescription growth in the current month, when adjusted for 90 days’ scripts. The Company also reported positive comparable sales in Health and Beauty along with key holiday categories, which posted strong year-over-year growth. However, this wasn’t enough to completely overcome headwinds related to the impact of reduced SNAP benefits, competitive promotional activity and unusually warm weather, which had a negative influence on seasonal categories. Looking more broadly at our business, we believe the key marketing and merchandising initiatives we have implemented will drive future sales, traffic and profits, and represent a solid strategic response to the near-term challenges we are currently experiencing. Between the launch of Category Management University, our robust analytics tools that allow us to better track consumer behavior, and numerous other strategies aimed at increasing sales, we remain confident in Fred’s long-term prospects.” read more

fred’s Pharmacy Unanimously Adopts Shareholder Rights Plan

MEMPHIS, Tenn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Fred’s Inc. (“Fred’s Pharmacy” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ:FRED) today announced that its Board of Directors unanimously adopted a shareholder rights plan (the “Rights Plan”).

After Fred’s Pharmacy observed unusual and substantial activity in the Company’s shares, the Board unanimously adopted the Rights Plan to ensure that the Board remains in the best position to perform its fiduciary duties and enable all Fred’s Pharmacy shareholders to receive fair and equal treatment. The Rights Plan is also designed to allow all Fred’s Pharmacy shareholders to realize the long-term value of their investment by reducing the likelihood that any person or group would gain control of the Company through open market accumulation without appropriately compensating its shareholders for such control or providing the Board sufficient time to make informed judgments. The Rights Plan also ensures that certain default provisions of the Company’s credit facilities will not be triggered, causing the acceleration of certain debt maturities.

Fred’s Pharmacy’s commitment to driving shareholder value remains steadfast through a focused growth strategy relying on four key pillars: retail pharmacy expansion, specialty pharmacy, front store growth and lucrative acquisitions and partnerships. The Rights Plan will allow the Company to continue to execute on its strategy, which includes completing the proposed acquisition of 865 Rite Aid stores, subject to approval by the Federal Trade Commission, which would make Fred’s Pharmacy the third-largest drugstore chain in the nation.

Other Company initiatives include optimizing Fred’s Pharmacy’s store fleet by closing 40 underperforming stores in the first half of 2017, thereby creating a benefit to earnings of over $4 million, and upgrading the Company’s technology infrastructure, including through the rollout of new products in connection with the Company’s partnership with JDA Software Group, Inc.

While it is the Company’s policy not to comment on specific discussions with shareholders, the Company has had an ongoing dialogue with a number of shareholders and always welcomes all constructive input towards the goal of positioning Fred’s Pharmacy as a leading healthcare-focused company and enhancing shareholder value.

The Rights Plan, which was adopted by the Board following evaluation and consultation with the Company’s advisors, is similar to plans adopted by numerous publicly traded companies. It was not adopted in response to any specific takeover bid or other proposal to acquire control of the Company.

Pursuant to the Rights Plan, the Company is issuing one right for each share of common stock outstanding at the close of business on January 5, 2017.

Under the Rights Plan, the rights will generally become exercisable only if a person or group acquires beneficial ownership of 10% or more of the Company’s common stock. In that situation, each holder of a right (other than such acquiring person or group, whose rights will become void and will not be exercisable) will be entitled to purchase, at the then-current exercise price, additional shares of common stock having a market value of twice the exercise price of the right. Any existing shareholder or group that has beneficial ownership of 10% or more of the Company’s common stock will be grandfathered at its current ownership level, but the rights will become exercisable if at any time after the announcement of the Rights Plan such shareholder or group increases its ownership of the common stock.

At any time after any person or group acquires beneficial ownership of 10% or more of the Company’s Class A common stock, the Board, at its option, may exchange each right (other than rights owned by such acquiring person or group which will have become void) in whole or in part, at an exchange ratio of one share of Class A common stock per outstanding right (subject to adjustment).

The rights will expire on June 26, 2019. The Company’s Board of Directors may redeem the rights for $0.01 per right at any time before an event that causes the rights to become exercisable.

In addition to the adoption of the Rights Plan, the Board has unanimously adopted amendments to the Company’s bylaws (the “Bylaw Amendments”). These amendments include applying procedural parameters to the shareholder right to call special meetings and adding an advanced notice provision for director nominations and shareholder proposals, among others.

Further details regarding the Rights Plan and the Bylaw Amendments are contained in a Form 8-K filed by the Company with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on December 27, 2016.

Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. and Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC are serving as legal counsel to the Company. read more

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