By Chris Gregory, Managing Editor

The Hartsville location of Fred’s is among 159 stores being closed in 13 states, the retailer announced last Thursday.

In a statement, Fred’s said it expects to close all 159 stores by the end of May 2019. However, an exact closing date was not currently available and requests from The Vidette were directed to Fred’s corporate offices.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette

“After a careful review, we have made the decision to rationalize our footprint by closing underperforming stores, with a particular focus on locations with shorter duration leases. Most of these stores have near-term lease expirations and limited remaining lease obligations. Decisions that impact our associates in this way are difficult, but the steps we are announcing are necessary. We will make every effort to transition impacted associates to other stores where possible,” Fred’s CEO Joseph Anto said in a statement.

Liquidation sales have reportedly already begun at the 159 stores, which also include Fred’s locations in Gallatin and Lebanon.

Fred’s sold its pharmacy patient files and pharmacy inventory to Walgreens late last year and the local pharmacy closed earlier this year.

The closures represent nearly 29 percent of Fred’s 557 stores, with Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee most heavily affected. A complete list of closing stores can be found online at finance.yahoo.com/news/fred-retains-pj-solomon-evaluate-123434145.html.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com. Contributing: Staff reports