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Pharmacy to remain open despite company’s uncertain future
By RUSSELL TURNER
It’s official. Well, kind of.
After months of speculation, Fred’s dollar store chain announced late last week it is closing another 129 stores in six states. In that number are 35 Fred’s stores in Mississippi, including the store in Leakesville.
According to published reports, Fred’s had 568 stores in 15 southern states. Of those, 169 included full-service pharmacies. The chain said Friday that it would have about 80 stores left after the latest in a series of planned store closures, which will shutter 19 stores in Tennessee, 16 in Arkansas, 14 in Georgia, 13 in Arkansas and 12 in Louisiana, to go along with the 35 closing in the Magnolia State.
Leakesville Mayor George Perkins said the news was not entirely surprising, but he had hoped the local store could avoid yet another round of announced closures.
“I am very disappointed,” said Perkins. “We will certainly be reaching out to company officials and to the property owners offering to help in any way we could.”
Despite the announcement, there is still quite a bit of uncertainty around the Leakesville store. Town officials have been told the store will be closed in September, but that the pharmacy is expected to remain open after that time.
A manager at the Leakesville store said he was not able to elaborate on the company’s plans for the store, but made it clear the pharmacy is open and is slated to remain open and continue providing services to customers.
According to a report in USA Today, corporate officials have said all of the company’s remaining pharmacies will stay open. According to that report, Fred’s is planning inventory clearance sales at all its stores in an effort to “refocus its product mix, simplify its store portfolio and repay debt.”
“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,” Fred’s CEO Joseph Anto said in a statement.
Company officials added that certain stores currently slated to close could reopen with a new business model and a revamped lineup of products.