by Tyler Hale
Fred’s is filing for bankruptcy and starting the process of closing down all of its retail locations.
The Memphis-headquartered retail and pharmacy chain has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware today. The company is aiming to enter into a debtor-in-possession agreement to secure $35 million in funding.
With the bankruptcy, Fred’s is shutting down its remaining retail locations, which it says will be completed within the next 60 days. During that time, company officials expect many of its pharmacies to continue filling medical prescriptions. According to a company release, Fred’s is looking into selling its pharmacies as part of its bankruptcy proceedings.
Fred’s has already launched liquation sales for its stores, as part of an “orderly wind-down of its operations.”
“Despite our team’s best efforts, we were not able to avoid this outcome,” Joe Anto, Chief Executive Officer at Fred’s, said in a statement. “I want to thank all of our employees for their hard work and continued support of the Company as we wind-down our operations.”
At the start of 2019, Fred’s operated 568 stores across 15 states in the United States. Since that time, it has closed approximately 288 store locations.
In July, Fred’s closed 129 stores across the United States, including 16 in Arkansas. This round of closures followed an earlier, and larger, series of store closures in April. During the April closures, Fred’s closed 159 stores, including 19 Arkansas locations.
There are currently 20 Arkansas Fred’s locations listed on the corporate website. Of that total, 10 were previously slated to close in July. The remaining 10 stores are located the following towns:
- Bald Knob
- Cherokee Village
- Heber Springs
- North Crossett
- West Memphis
Over the course of the past year, the retail company’s stock has fell dramatically, going from a high of $3.44 per share on NASDAQ in November 12, 2018 to a low of 12 cents per share as of press time.
The company’s stock has been falling, with small crests, since 2017. In the past five years, the company’s highest stock value was $20.20 per share on December 23, 2016. The stock value plummeted from $13.95 to $6.40 over an 18-day period from May 26 to July 14, 2017. The stock value has gradually crept downwards.