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Fred's August revenue figure falls 2.8 percent

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Discount-store operator Fred's Inc. said Thursday that a key revenue figure fell 2.8 percent in August, but the company said sales picked up a bit at the end of the month because of back-to-school shopping.

Analysts expected a larger 4.3 percent drop in revenue in stores open at least one year, according to Thomson Reuters. The measure is important to retailers because it excludes sales from new stores and stores that have closed recently.

The company said sales were slow in the four weeks through Aug. 25, but an increase in late back-to-school sales helped results. Fred's pharmacy department was also a bright spot during the month.

Total revenue for the four weeks ended Aug. 25 rose 2 percent to $139.9 million.

Year-to-date, revenue in stores open at least one year fell 0.8 percent and total revenue rose 3 percent to $1.11 billion.

Fred's operates about 700 discount stores in the Southeast.