Fred’s to close 40 of its stores

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MEMPHIS — Fred’s Inc. said it plans to shut 40 underperforming stores in the first half of next year.

Fred’s reported a net loss for its fiscal 2016 third quarter, and declined to take any questions from analysts during its postponed conference call, citing “a pending transaction.” The company said there was no certainty that a deal would take place, and gave no details. But a recent report on Seeking Alpha said Fred’s could be a buyer of stores to be divested by Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. Fred’s is definitely focusing on health care in its plans.

“We continue to address and improve several key areas of our business, including a heightened focus on positioning Fred’s as a leading health care-focused company,” Fred’s chief executive officer Mike Bloom said in a statement. “These ongoing initiatives are designed to strengthen all aspects of our operations as we seek to create a more dynamic platform to grow our business while maximizing returns on invested capital and, in turn, shareholder value.”


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