Industry veteran Michael K. Bloom has been named chief executive officer of Fred’s Inc., effective immediately. He succeeds Jerry A. Shore who announced he will retire from the company in February 2017.

Bloom joined Fred’s as president and chief operating officer in January 2015 and has worked closely with Shore to fortify the management team and ensure a smooth transition. Bloom was previously president and chief operating officer at Family Dollar, which he joined following more than 20 years at CVS.

“Jerry and Mike have worked side-by-side for nearly two years; we are fortunate to have had Jerry’s successor in place for this transition. With more than 30 years of experience in small-box retail, throughout merchandising, marketing, supply chain and store operations, Mike has proven himself as a strategic, innovative and effective leader,” said Thomas H. Tashjian, chairman of the board at Fred’s, which operates 651 discount general merchandise stores (including 18 franchised sites) and three specialty pharmacy-only locations in 15 states Southeastern states. Fred’s has 372 full-service pharmacy departments within its stores. He added Bloom has been instrumental in transforming the front end of the stores.

Bloom added, “I am confident that the strategies we are laying out and the investments we are making will further evolve this unique business model — as a regional provider of health-care services and value merchandise in the markets that we serve — and will position us to realize long-term sustainable growth.”

Industry observers termed Bloom a good fit for Fred’s when he joined the company last year because of his rich experience in building categories, including beauty. During his career at CVS, Bloom rose through the ranks to executive vice president of merchandising, marketing, advertising and supply chain — a background that prepared him for Fred’s operation. He also spent more than 10 years with Peoples Drug.

Fred’s also promoted Craig Barnes, executive vice president of supply chain, global and domestic logistics, to chief operating officer for the front store, a new position.

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