Fred’s Inc. (stylized fred's) and subsidiaries operate in 15 states in the southeastern United States with 304 full-service pharmacy departments located within Fred’s stores, including four franchised locations. Additionally, Fred’s Inc. has 57 Xpress pharmacy locations, three specialty pharmacy locations and more than 650 discount general merchandise stores chain-wide. Fred's stocks more than 12,000 frequently purchased items addressing the daily needs of its customers.
The first Fred's store opened in Coldwater, Mississippi in 1947. In 1953, Fred's moved its corporate headquarters to Memphis, Tennessee.
Fred's primarily competes against national, deep-discount chains Dollar General, Family Dollar, and Dollar Tree, and against independently owned stores. In the past few years, it and other deep-discount retailers have taken some market share away from major discount chains like Walmart, as well. Most locations are in towns with populations of 15,000 or less.
The company has two distribution centers: one in Memphis, another in Dublin, Georgia.
Fred’s Inc. owns and operates two additional chains, Getwell Drug & Dollar and Yazoo Trading Company.
Getwell Drug & Dollar is a pharmacy destination that also offers over-the-counter medication and individualized patient care. Locations across Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and Mississippi also feature more than 1,700 one-dollar items.
Yazoo Trading Company offers hardware, auto, and pet and animal supplies. Five locations across Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia also provide basic home project needs.
In 2008, Fred's decided to close over 50 under-performing stores due to rising fuel costs and other economic issues. For example, several North Carolina locations were closed, leaving over a dozen stores in that state.
On December 21, 2016, it was announced that Fred's would acquire 865 stores as a result of the Walgreens/Rite Aid merger expected to close in 2017 for the price of $950 Million USD. The acquisition would have more than doubled the number of stores Fred's currently operates. However, on June 29, 2017, Walgreens withdrew plans to acquire Rite Aid and instead opted to buy out half of their stores, a move which nullified Fred's planned acquisition of the Rite Aid stores. Fred's received $25 million as compensation for expenses of the now-terminated merger deal.
Fred's currently donates either through corporate donation or voluntary in-store requests to several national charities.