Fred’s closing stores, close “underperforming stores”.

The company, Fred’s, Inc., announced on Thursday it is closing 159 stores.

According to a press release, the company plans to close the stores by the end of May.

The company made the decision to close “underperforming stores” following an evaluation of the stores’ portfolios, “including historical and recent store performance and the timing of lease expirations, among other factors.”

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“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 Chief Executive Officer Joseph Anto stated in a press release. “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,”

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Locations affected include stores in Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, Illinois and Tennessee.

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The Memphis-based retailer operates about 600 general merchandise and pharmacy stores, including 13 franchised locations.

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