Roundup: Fred’s closures / Hundred Oaks improvements / Construction costs rise

    Retail woes: Discount chain Fred’s is joining the growing list of retailers shuttering stores amid slumping sales, USA Today reports. The Memphis-based company announced today that it will close 159 underperforming stores—including 14 in Louisiana, among them the Baton Rouge location on Greenwell Springs Road and another on La. 30 in Gonzales—at the end of May as it looks to reduce its store footprint. Read the full story.

    Sidewalks: Mayor Sharon Weston Broome says work on a pedestrian improvement project in the Perkins Road and Hundred Oaks Avenue is scheduled to start Tuesday. The $87,777 project will increase pedestrian access to public transit, recreational facilities and local commerce in the area. It’s expected to be completed by June.

    Penny pinching: Construction input prices rose 1.7% in March on a monthly basis, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. On a year-over-year basis, construction input prices are up 2.5%, and following a stretch of four consecutive months of input price decreases, March was the second straight month prices have risen in the aggregate. Read the full report.  

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