Profit slips at Fred’s

Memphis, Tenn. Fred's said Wednesday that its first-quarter profit slipped 4% even as sales climbed. The chain earned $8.2 million during the three-month period that ended on May 1. That compares with $8.6 million a year earlier.

Net revenue rose almost 3% to $471.6 million, up from $458.4 million last year. Same-store sales rose 2.2%.

Fred's has 670 stores around the country.

Bruce A. Efird, CEO of Fred’s, said the company will continue to invest in its prototype stores and implement new merchandising layout in more than 200 stores this year.

“With the passage of the new healthcare bill, we see both opportunities and challenges, and remain committed to growing our pharmacy business, both organically and through acquisitions,” he said.