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Fred's Closing 75 Stores

Fred's Inc. will close 75 stores, slash corporate overhead and revamp merchandising programs as part of a strategic plan unveiled Wednesday designed to improve the sagging financial fortunes of the 700-store Memphis-based discount retailer.

In all, the plan is expected to save Fred's $11 million in expenses, before taxes, starting in the second half of this year, executives said.

The stores to be closed this year lost $9 million on operations in 2007.

The moves were part of an effort Fred's started late last year, with the help of Merrill Lynch, to study its strategic and financial options.

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