One casualty of a corporate belt tightening at Fred’s is the discount retailer’s Clinton store at 107 Jacobs Highway.
The Memphis, Tenn.-based parent, Fred’s Inc., is closing nearly 30 percent of its stores – 159 across 13 states – by the end of May. Twelve are in South Carolina, including nearby locations in Anderson, Chester and Hodges. Stores in south Greenwood and Ware Shoals will remain open.
Many Clinton residents valued Fred’s, situated on the consumer scale between Dollar General and Walmart, because it occasionally saved them a trip to Walmart in Laurens.
The company’s CEO said in a statement that underperforming and unprofitable stores will be closed.
“After a careful review,” Joseph Anto said, “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.”
The Fred’s December earnings report revealed that net sales had dropped 5.5 percent, from $324.3 million in 2017 to $306.4 million in 2018.
The list of stores being closed included 31 locations in Mississippi, 25 in Georgia, 23 in Tennessee, 19 each in Alabama and Arkansas, 14 in Louisiana, six in Texas, four in Kentucky, three in North Carolina, two in Missouri and one each in Illinois and Oklahoma.
The company’s 398 other discount stores will remain open. The news release suggested that additional closures might be needed.