Fred's

Fred's is closing its last Charleston-area store in Ladson. Provided

A Tennessee-based discount retailer is shuttering 159 stores across the Southeast, including its last location in the Charleston area.

Fred's is liquidating the store at 119 College Park Road in Ladson along with 10 others in South Carolina.

Others going dark across the state are in Anderson, Chester, Clinton, Hodges, Iva, Landrum, Liberty, North Augusta, Orangeburg and Pickens.

The Memphis-based company said the underperforming and unprofitable stores in 13 states will close at the end of May. They represent nearly 30 percent of the retailer's shops.

The company's 398 other discount stores will remain open.

CEO Joseph Anto said in a statement that the company will work to move employees to other stores if possible.

The company said it is continuing to pursue the sale of its remaining pharmacy assets.

Besides South Carolina, the list of stores being closed includes 31 in Mississippi, 25 in Georgia, 23 in Tennessee, 19 each in Alabama and Arkansas, 14 in Louisiana, six in Texas, four in Kentucky, three in North Carolina, two in Missouri and one each in Illinois and Oklahoma.

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Fred's departure from the Charleston region follows Sears, Kmart and Radio Shack, all of which closed in recent years.

Several other national retail chains have announced total or partial store closures this year. Payless ShoeSource and Charlotte Russe are closing all of their locations while others such as J.C. Penney, Victoria's Secret, Gymboree and Gap, will close several stores. 

A new report released Friday found that U.S. store closures this year are already exceeding the total for 2018.

Coresight Research, which tracks coming and goings, said retailers have announced 5,994 store closures and 2,641 openings as of early April. That compares to 5,864 closures and 3,239 openings for the full year 2018.

Coresight CEO Deborah Weinswig said the low 2018 total was actually an anomaly and the industry would return to a faster rate of closures in 2019.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Reach Warren L. Wise at 843-937-5524. Follow him on Twitter @warrenlancewise.