Fred's in Spruce Pine among 3 closing in NC
SPRUCE PINE – Discount chain Fred’s has announced its Spruce Pine location at 11931 S. NC 226 is one of three stores closing in North Carolina and among 159 closing nationwide by the end of May.
The Memphis-based retailer cited slumping sales as the reason for the decision as it looks to reduce its store footprint “evaluate strategic alternatives,” according to a press release. The company plans to begin having “going out of business” sales starting as soon as Thursday, April 18, according to an article in the USA TODAY.
The retailer said in a statement it retained investment banking advisory firm P.J. Solomon to assess its options “to maximize value” and hired liquidation firms Malfitano Advisors and SB360 Capital Partners “to help manage the process and ensure a seamless experience for customers.”
The closing stores represent nearly 29 percent of Fred’s 557 stores and are located in 13 states, with Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee losing the most stores.
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.
“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," said Joseph Anto, Fred’s CEO. "Most of these stores have near‐term lease expirations and limited remaining lease obligations."
In Fred’s statement released Thursday, the company said P.J. Solomon would do a “thorough evaluation” of the company’s plan and look for alternatives.
“There can be no assurance that the strategic review will result in any specific action or any assurance as to its outcome or timing,” the statement said.
The number of employees affected was not immediately available.
“Decisions that impact our associates in this way are difficult, but the steps we are announcing are necessary,” Anto said. “We will make every effort to transition impacted associates to other stores where possible.”
There are no plans to close a majority or all Fred's stores or to file for bankruptcy, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.
The Fred’s stores in Marion and Dunn are the others closing in North Carolina.