The Fred's in Starkville, on South Jackson Street, is closing. Fred's, Inc. announced the store was one of 104 locations closing in a Thursday press release. Photo by: Alex Holloway/Dispatch Staff
May 17, 2019 10:23:04 AM
Fred's in Starkville will close its doors this summer amid a second round of more than 100 store closures across the Southeast.
Fred's, Inc., based in Memphis, Tennessee, announced on Thursday it will close 104 "underperforming" stores. The closures will shutter 18 stores in Mississippi, including Starkville's location on South Jackson Street.
"The additional store closures are a difficult, but necessary step in the continued restructuring of Fred's," CEO Joseph Anto said in a press release.
The company expects stores included in the round of closures to shut their doors by the end of June.
Fred's corporate headquarters and media contact Jen Ehlers did not respond to multiple calls for comment from The Dispatch by press time. It's unclear when the Starkville location opened or how many people it employs. A manager at the Starkville location said the store was instructed not to speak to media about the closure.
In April, Fred's announced it would close 159 stores, including the locations in downtown Columbus and West Point. According to a USA Today report, Fred's reported having 557 total stores at the time. With April's closures and the closures the company announced on Thursday, Fred's will have closed 263 total stores by the end of June, or 46 percent of its locations.
A separate press release from Massachusetts-based company SB360 Capital Partners, which is helping Fred's conduct liquidation sales, said the stores announced to close in April have entered their "final days" and should finish business within the next 10 days.
In the press release, SB360 Executive Vice President Ziggy Schaffer said the company expects the store closure sales to quickly churn through the stores' inventory.
"We predicted Fred's customers would be filling up their carts from day one, and we were correct," Schaffer said. "Word spreads quickly in the many smaller communities Fred's serves. When shoppers come into a store and see the liquidation prices off Fred's everyday value prices, they buy in bulk."
Included in the new round of closures will be stores in Amory, Brookhaven, Oxford, Hernando, Corinth, Pearl, Hattiesburg, Vancleave, Tupelo, Crystal Springs, Brandon, Sardis, Senatobia, Moss Point, Clinton, Hazlehurst and Southaven.
According to a May 6 Yahoo Finance report, Fred's reported an 8.9-percent decrease in sales from $1.39 billion to $1.27 billion from Fiscal Year 2017 to Fiscal Year 2018. The company reported an 11.2-percent drop in gross profit from 363.8 million to $323 million from FY 2017 to FY 2018.
In the report, Anto said the company's performance was dissatisfactory.
"This is clearly a challenging time for the company and we are disappointed with our operating results for the quarter and fiscal year," Anto said. "We are working to optimize our store footprint, cost structure and operating model, while also addressing concerns regarding our liquidity profile."
Alex Holloway was formerly a reporter with The Dispatch.
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