Fred’s store in Marion, others to close next month

MIKE CONLEY/MCDOWELL NEWS

The Fred’s store in Marion is one of the retail chain’s three locations in North Carolina and among 159 in other states that will close by the end of May. Located at the Lady Marian Plaza, the local Fred’s store will go out of business as will the stores in Spruce Pine and Dunn.

The Fred’s store in Marion is one of the retail chain’s three locations in North Carolina and among 159 in other states that will close by the end of May.

Located at the Lady Marian Plaza, the local Fred’s store will go out of business as will the stores in Spruce Pine and Dunn. On Thursday, the retailer announced it would close 159 stores in 13 states as the more than 70-year-old discount chain seeks to avoid joining the growing list of defunct merchants, according to a story by CBS News.

The manager of the Marion store declined to comment about the closing and referred a McDowell News reporter to the corporate office.

The 557-store chain said it expects to close unprofitable or weaker stores by the end of May, and has retained a financial adviser to explore options that often include a restructuring or potential sale. The company’s 398 other stores will remain open, according to the CBS News story.

“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.

The closing stores represent more than a quarter of Fred’s stores, with Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee hardest hit by closures. Sales at Fred’s stores open at least a year fell 4.9 percent in the first nine months of 2018, compared with a year earlier. The company’s shares have plunged almost 80 percent since the company scrapped its bid to buy 1,200 Rite Aid drugstores in 2017.

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