RETAIL NEWS

Fred’s to close another 104 stores

BY David Salazar

Fred’s is continuing its efforts to rationalize its store footprint. The Memphis, Tenn.-based company on Thursday announced that it will close 104 stores it says are underperforming by the end of June, with liquidation sales starting today at the affected locations.

The closures are part of a forbearance agreement and amendment with the company’s creditors the company reached Wednesday. The company must meet other inventory and cash flow targets and provide forecasts, among other elements of the forbearance, with the aim of refinancing its debt in late July.

This round of closures follows the company’s announcement last month that it would be closing 159 stores said to be underperforming by the end of May. Once this latest round of 104 closures is complete, Fred’s store base will be down to 294 locations.

“These additional store closures are a difficult, but necessary step in the continued restructuring of Fred’s,” Fred’s CEO Joseph Anto said.

Fred’s isn’t the only company within the portfolio of its controlling company, Alden Global Capital, facing difficulties this year. Alden — whose president, Heath Freeman, serves as Fred’s chairman — also controls Payless ShoeSource, which in February filed for bankruptcy and began shuttering all of its U.S. stores.

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