Fred's to Close 159 Stores Across 13 Southern States
Last week, Southern discount retailer Fred's announced the closure of 159 stores across 13 states due to declining sales.
The 70-year-old chain plans to close unprofitable or weaker stores by the end of May. The other 398 locations of the 557-store chain will reportedly remain open. Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee are the states hardest hit by the closures.
"After a careful review, we have made the decision to rationalize our footprint by closing underperforming stores, with a particular focus on locations with shorter duration leases," Fred's CEO Joseph Anto said in a statement.
Fred's began liquidation sales at the closing stores last Thursday. (See the full list of stores holding liquidation sales here.)
According to Anto, the retailer "will make every effort" to find the stores' employees new jobs at other locations.
"Decisions that impact our associates in this way are difficult, but the steps we are announcing are necessary," he said.
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The shuttered locations represent more than a quarter of Fred's stores, with Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee bearing the brunt of the closures.
The first Fred's store opened in Coldwater, Mississippi in 1947, and moved its corporate headquarters to Memphis, Tennessee, six years later.