Fred’s Opens New Super Dollar in Memphis

By Andy Meek

Memphis-based general merchandise retailer Fred’s Inc. began the year reporting a revenue uptick in January, and it’s ending the year with the opening of a new fred’s Super Dollar store in Memphis.

A grand opening of the 16,000-square-foot fred’s Super Dollar store at 1290 Lamar Ave. will be held Friday. The store is a new prototype design for the Memphis-based company.

(Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)

The grand opening of the 16,000-square-foot store at 1290 Lamar Ave., which will feature a new prototype design, is Friday, Dec. 27, at 8:45 a.m. The events kick off with a ribbon-cutting at that time, with attendees including representatives of the Greater Memphis Chamber, and during the opening ceremony the company will present donations to two schools – Central High School and Bruce Elementary School.

Besides activities to engage visitors, the new store concept also is intended to be something engaging all on its own. Almost everything about the experience – lighting, shelving, aisle width and signage, among other things – has been rethought.

The food selection, for example, is bigger. The new store has more breakfast foods, quick meals, beverages and other options, with the expanded selection doubling the traditionally available mix of products at fred’s Super Dollar stores.

There’s also a state-of-the-art pharmacy with a drive-thru window at the front of the store. That and other touches are the result of listening to customer wishes and tailoring a shopping experience for them, according to Dave Mueller, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Fred’s Inc.

“We have conducted extensive qualitative and quantitative research into what our customers and our competitors’ customers want,” Mueller said in a press release previewing the event. “We feel fred’s Super Dollar will deliver the ideal size, product mix and store flow to accommodate customers looking for a quick in-and-out shopping trip or those who want a full bargain-hunting shopping experience.”

The presence of a pharmacy at the new store is purposeful. In a regulatory filing from Fred’s shortly before the Christmas holiday, the company explained to investors that it views its pharmacy department as “a key differentiating factor from other small-box discount retailers.”

During the first quarter of 2013, for example, Fred’s announced the launch of a three-year so-called reconfiguration plan to kick-start growth. The plan has two components: improve the stores’ general merchandise space efficiency and productivity and “aggressively accelerate” Fred’s pharmacy department presence.

During the most recent quarter, Fred’s pharmacy department turned in more prescription counts and higher gross margins, according to the company. The department’s sales were more than 40 percent of total sales during the quarter for the first time in Fred’s history.

Fred’s is known not only for convenience and product variety – including items such as cleaning and pet supplies, grocery items and home decor accessories, among others – but also for low prices. The retailer offers more than 2,200 items for $1.

Visitors to the new store on grand opening day could be in line for some winnings. The first 150 customers get a free fred’s Super Dollar reusable shopping bag. Customers also will get a chance to win one of three $100 shopping sprees in “smartbucks” when they register and swipe their fred’s “smartcard” during the grand opening weekend.

Also during opening weekend, Turner Dairy will be providing free samples and giveaways, and the Memphis Fire Department will offer truck tours.

The new location will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.

Pharmacy hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.