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Fred's August sales flat; up 1 pct for year

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Fred's Inc., the operator of a chain of nearly 700 discount stores in the southeastern U.S., said Wednesday that an important sales measurement was roughly flat in August compared with a year ago.

The chain sold $140 million worth of goods in the month, compared with $139.9 million a year ago.

Revenue at stores open a year or more was flat, an improvement from a year ago, when they marked a 2.8 percent decline. That's considered an important measurement of a retailer's performance because it strips out the effects of opening new stores.

Year-to-date sales were up 1 percent at $1.12 billion. Stores open more than a year saw sales rise 0.5 percent year to date, compared with a decline of 0.8 percent in the same period a year ago.

Fred's CEO Bruce Efird said the sales were within its guidance to investors despite having one less day in the fiscal month.

Fred's shares closed up 13 cents at $15.81 before the results were released Wednesday.