Fred’s, Inc. (NASDAQ: FRED) announced April 11 the retention of PJ Solomon to evaluate strategic alternatives to maximize value for all shareholders. The Company also announced that it will begin to close underperforming and unprofitable stores. Fred’s decision to close underperforming stores follows a comprehensive evaluation of the Company’s store portfolio, including historical and recent store performance and the timing of lease expirations, among other factors.
Liquidation sales at the 159 stores currently designated for closure began Thursday while the Company’s 398 other stores will remain open. Joseph Anto, Fred’s Chief Executive Officer, stated: “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. 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 intends to close all 159 impacted stores by the end of May 2019. Fred’s has partnered with Malfitano Advisors, LLC and SB360 Capital Partners to help manage the process and ensure a seamless experience for customers. Louisiana stores slated for closure include the Natchitoches location in Dixie Plaza.
Others in the state include stores in Hammond, Lafayette, Carencro, Franklin, St. Martinville, Westlake, Gonzales, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, Bossier City, Monroe, Jonesboro and Pineville.