Fred’s Inc. announced today that they will be closing a large number of their locations, including Hope, Prescott and Stamps, by the end of May of this year.
According to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the 72-year-old company will be closing 159 of its 557 stores throughout the southeastern U.S. Stores chose are said by Fred’s to be under-performing and have shorter leases. The company said it followed comprehensive evaluations of the company’s store portfolio, including historical and recent sales performance and timing of lease expirations, among other factors. They said liquidation sales would begin today. The Fred’s Board of Directors approved the plan on April 5, 2019.
In a press release, Joseph Anto, Fred’s Chief Executive Officer, stated: “After a careful review, we have made the decision to rationalize our footprint by closing under-performing stores, with a particular focus on locations with shorter duration leases. Most of these stores have near-term lease expirations and limited remaining lease obligations. Decisions that impact our associates in this way are difficult, but the steps we are announcing are necessary. We will make every effort to transition impacted associates to other stores where possible.”
Fred’s says it intends to close all 159 locations by the end of May. In addition to the store inventory, the company’s pharmacy assets will also be sold. According to the company, it announced in September 2018 that it reached and agreement with Walgreens to sell the pharmacy patient prescription files and related pharmacy inventory of 179 of its locations.