Linden Mayor Ward 'Disheartened' Over Fred's Closure
LINDEN, TN (WOPC) Fred's Super Dollar stores announced a new round of closures Friday, affecting local stores in Linden and Parsons. Although fears of the closures have lasted for months after earlier rounds were announced, local store managers say they were confident our stores would escape the consolidation.
"I'm very disheartened" said Mayor Wess Ward to WOPC News Friday. "This was a good employer with good revenue, and an important business in our community" Mayor Ward added.
The timeline of the closure and next steps for the property are unclear. For years now, the previous home of Dollar General in Lobelville has remained empty after the company expanded to a larger building, leaving a large empty shell on the town's main street.
In a press release issued by the company Friday, it was outlined that the Tennessee closures were part of a larger national restructuring.
Press release: (Freds) will close an additional 129 retail stores and hold inventory clearance sales across all stores in an effort to refocus its product mix, simplify its store portfolio and repay debt. Following the planned 129 closures, Fred's will have approximately 80 retail stores remaining, centered primarily around the Company's distribution center in Dublin, GA. Lists of stores that will be closed and that will remain open are included below. Fred's may evaluate re-launching certain closed stores in the future under a new operating model, with an updated assortment. The Company expects the proceeds from the inventory clearance sales will be used to repay outstanding indebtedness under its revolving credit agreement. All pharmacies (including the 69 within the 129 stores referenced above) will remain open and the Company will continue to fulfill prescriptions at its pharmacy locations, as it continues to pursue the sale of its remaining pharmacy locations and opportunities to monetize pieces of its real estate portfolio. The Company currently operates 166 pharmacies. Joseph Anto, Fred's Chief Executive Officer, stated, "While it is never easy to make decisions that impact our valued employees and customers, this initiative represents another necessary step in our continued efforts to stabilize our business by simplifying our store portfolio and product assortment." Mr. Anto continued, "We are pleased to present our loyal customers the unique and compelling opportunity to purchase heavily discounted items for a limited time. We encourage shoppers to take advantage of these unmatched deals, and stock up on items that may be permanently removed from Fred's shelves, come August."