April 11, 2019 / 1:50 PM / 8 days ago

Discount retailer Fred's to close nearly 30 percent of stores

(Reuters) - Fred’s Inc said on Thursday it would close at least 159 underperforming and unprofitable stores, or nearly 30 percent of its total number of outlets, as the discount retailer works to turnaround its struggling business.

Fred’s said it had retained financial adviser PJ Solomon to evaluate other options for its business, which has been making losses since 2015.

Liquidation sales at 159 of Fred’s 557 stores will begin on Thursday. The stores are expected to close by the end of May.

The company also said it is continuing to pursue the sale of its remaining pharmacy assets following the sale of patient prescription files and related pharmacy inventory from 179 Fred’s stores to drugstore chain Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.

Fred’s shares, which have lost nearly 80 percent of their value since the company was forced to scrap its bid for 1,200 Rite Aid Corp stores in June 2017, rose 2.9 percent to $2.15 in early trading on Thursday.

Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel

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