MEMPHIS, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fred's Inc. (NASDAQ: FRED) today announced that Craig Barnes and Kelly Ma have joined the Company and will lead its new sourcing team. Barnes assumes the role of Senior Vice President, Global Sourcing and Hardlines, bringing more than 20 years of progressive retail merchandising/sourcing experience to the Company. Ma, with eight years of experience in sourcing, product procurement, development, vendor selection, and financial planning, joins as Vice President, International and Domestic Sourcing.
Prior to joining Fred's, Barnes was Vice President for the Global Independent Aftermarket and OE Service for Delphi Products & Service Solution, where he was responsible for setting product and customer pursuit strategy and capability development, overseeing four regions including Asia Pacific, Latin America, EMEA, and North America. Previously, he was the Senior Vice President, Merchandising, Pricing, Global Sourcing, Marketing, and Inventory Demand Planning for General Parts/CARQUEST. Barnes began his retail career at AutoZone with experience in merchandising and store operations.
Previously, Ma was the Global Sourcing-Import Coordinator for AutoZone, responsible for identifying and presenting import opportunities for assigned category teams and managing the entire import process from beginning to final execution of products in stores. In addition, Ma was responsible for managing the compliance process for direct import suppliers, factory audits and production sample inspections. Earlier in her career, she was the Merchant – Men's Sportswear for Fred's and was responsible for brand building, production selection and price negotiations, with accountability for sales margin performance and inventory.
Commenting on the announcement, Bruce A. Efird, Chief Executive Officer, said, "Our sourcing team, with greater focus for Fred's, will strengthen our overall inventory and buying management capabilities. Craig and Kelly bring the knowledge and experience needed to drive improvement in product sourcing throughout all general merchandise departments. While significant actions already are underway to improve buying processes and efficiently redeploy inventory dollars, our new sourcing team allows the Company to manage inventory levels more effectively and source goods more competitively in the future."
Efird also announced that Fred's has engaged Test Rite International, Inc. as a strategic sourcing contractor to augment the Fred's Global Sourcing strategy. Test Rite is a 35-year old organization based in Taipei, Taiwan, and has supported various Fortune 500 National Retailers, National Brands and B2B Distributors with sourcing support in Greater China, Southeast Asia, and the Indian sub-continent.
Fred's, Inc. operates 704 discount general merchandise stores, including 21 franchised Fred's stores, in the southeastern United States. For more information about the Company, visit Fred's website at www.fredsinc.com.
Comments in this news release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. A reader can identify forward-looking statements because they are not limited to historical facts or they use such words as "outlook," guidance," "may," "should," "could," "believe," "anticipate," "plan," "expect," "estimate," "forecast," "goal," "intend," "committed," "continue," or "will likely result" and similar expressions that concern the Company's strategy, plans, intentions or beliefs about future occurrences or results. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, those associated with the Company's announced strategic plan, the ultimate terms of the reworked pharmacy distribution agreement, lease buyouts and the underlying assumptions and projections upon which they are based, as well as risks that intended results may not be achieved or may not occur as quickly as expected; general economic trends; changes in consumer demand or purchase patterns; delays or interruptions in the flow of merchandise between the Company's distribution centers and its stores or between the Company's suppliers and same; a disruption in the Company's data processing services; costs and delays in acquiring or developing new store sites; and the factors listed under "Risk Factors" in the Company's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and any subsequent quarterly filings on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date made. Fred's undertakes no obligation to release revisions to these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unforeseen events, except as required to be reported under the rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission.