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Fred's shares jump as liquidation sales for 159 closing stores set to begin

Tonya Garcia

Shares of discount retailer Fred's Inc. jumped 5.7% in Thursday premarket trading after it said it will start liquidation sales at 159 stores that it is shuttering, part of a strategy to turn around the struggling company. The stores that are scheduled to shutter had expiring leases or limited obligations left on their leases, according to a statement from Fred's Chief Executive Joseph Anto. All of the stores should be closed by May 2019, leaving 398 stores in the company's fleet. Fred's also continues to pursue opportunities to sell its remaining pharmacy assets. In September, the company announced a deal to sell pharmacy assets at 179 stores in 10 southeastern states to Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. , a deal that closed in the fourth quarter. Fred's has hired PJ Solomon to review all strategic alternatives, with no guarantee of any further action. Fred's shares are up 10.6% for 2019 so far while the S&P 500 index has gained 15.2% for the period.