The move is the latest in a series of store closings (including announcements in April and May) from the retailer, which had 568 stores in 15 states as recently as February, according to a court filing.
“While it is never easy to make decisions that impact our valued employees and customers, this initiative represents another necessary step in our continued efforts to stabilize our business by simplifying our store portfolio and product assortment,” Fred’s chief executive officer Joseph Anto said in a statement.
The company also plans to hold inventory clearance sales at all of its stores, events Anto describes as savings opportunities for Fred’s customers.
“We are pleased to present our loyal customers the unique and compelling opportunity to purchase heavily discounted items for a limited time,” he said. “We encourage shoppers to take advantage of these unmatched deals, and stock up on items that may be permanently removed from Fred’s shelves, come August.”
Following the planned 129 closures, Fred’s will have about 80 retail stores, mostly centered around the Company’s distribution center in Dublin, Ga.
As for the planned closings, they include 35 stores in Mississippi, 19 in Tennessee, 16 in Arkansas, 14 in Georgia and 12 in Alabama. Fred’s said it may consider re-launching some closed stores in the future with a new operating model and an updated assortment. The company also said that all of its 166 pharmacies (including the 69 in the 129 stores set for closure) will remain open as the company continues to seek to sell off its pharmacy business.
Fred’s has partnered with Malfitano Advisors LLC and SB360 Capital Partners to help manage the clearance sale process.