“Our board of directors views this senior management addition as an important step in the process of developing the Fred’s team of the future,” said company chairman Michael Hayes. “The hiring of Mike Bloom as president and chief operating officer and the recent naming of a new chief executive officer and a new general merchandise manager form the nucleus of a team that will bring greater innovation, improved strategic execution and renewed dedication to drive growth for Fred’s for many years to come.”
“Mike Bloom is a proven leader in our industry with a track record for delivering strong results,” said the new CEO, Jerry Shore. “He brings to the Fred’s team expertise in both discount and chain drug retailing that touches on all key areas of our business. His extensive knowledge and experience in merchandising, operations and supply chain strategies will provide leadership to improve processes and drive customer traffic in our stores. As president and chief operating officer, Mike will have responsibility for major operational areas, including general merchandising, marketing, store operations and supply chain management.”
Bloom brings to Fred’s more than 30 years of experience in small-box merchandising, supply chain management and store operations. He most recently was president and COO of Family Dollar. Before that, he spent more than 20 years at CVS, holding a variety of positions with increasing responsibilities in merchandising and operations and rising to executive vice president of merchandising, marketing, advertising and supply chain.
Before joining CVS, Bloom spent 10 years in merchandising and operations management with Virginia-based Peoples Drug Stores and the Florida division of Toronto-based Shoppers Drug Mart Corp.
Bloom was hired less than two weeks after Shore officially took over as Fred’s CEO. Shore, previously president and COO, succeeded Bruce Efird, who left the company when his contract expired at the end of the year.
In late August, Efird reported that Fred’s planned to close 60 underperforming front-end-only stores by the end of fiscal 2014 and accelerate acquisitions as it transitioned to a pharmacy-centric model, with a goal of 65% to 70% of its stores having prescription counters. Currently around 350 of the chain’s 661 stores have pharmacies. The company said it would shut a net of about 20 units for 2014 but open around 40 prescription counters.