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Fred's to close all remaining stores after declaring bankruptcy

Fred's Inc. announced on Monday that the ailing discount retailer has filed for bankruptcy and will shutter all of its remaining stores, the latest brick-and-mortar merchant to fold as consumers shift their spending online.

The Memphis, Tennessee-based company said it will close all of its retail locations over the next 60 days. Fred's will continue to fill prescriptions at most of its drugstores as it pursues a court-supervised sale of its pharmacy assets.

"Despite our team's best efforts, we were not able to avoid this outcome," Fred's CEO Joe Anto said in a statement that also thanked the company's employees. 

Retailers expected to shutter 12,000 stores this year

Fred's sells general merchandise products, including food, beverage and household cleaning supplies. The 70-year-old regional retailer, which had nearly 560 stores as of April, began closing locations en masse that month in a bid to cut costs amid slowing growth. By July, Fred's had just 80 stores and 166 drugstores, mostly around its distribution center in Dublin, Georgia, according to a release

Fred's was hurt two years ago when its plan to buy 1,200 Rite Aid drugstores fell apart, causing its stock price to crater. Fred's stock price, which has plunged more than 93% this year, fell to around 12 cents after the bankruptcy was announced.

Fred's is only the latest retailer closing its doors as many traditional retailers struggle to compete with online businesses. According to Coresight Research, more than 12,000 stores are expected to close their doors for good in 2019, which would be double the nearly 6,000 closings last year. 

Footwear-chain Payless ShoeSource in February said it would close 2,600 stores in the U.S. and Canada. Children's clothing retailer Gymboree closed 749 stores after declaring bankruptcy in January.

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