JC Penney starts closing stores as part of 'optimization strategy'

Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Department store JC Penney released its “store optimization strategy,” a plan to help it emerge from both Chapter 11 and the COVID-19 pandemic. The move includes the closing of 154 stores starting June 12, additional store closings in the coming weeks, and a reduced store footprint.

The company that recently filed for bankruptcy said it has taken a comprehensive evaluation of its retail footprint, and a careful analysis of its current store performances to devise what works as a strategic fit for the future.

Even with the closures, JC Penney CEO Jill Soltau said the retailer will remain one of the nation’s largest apparel and home retailers, “as we continue to operate a majority of our stores and our flagship store,, to ensure our valued customers continue to have access to the products and brands they need and want.”

JC Penney began reopening 500 stores on June 4, easing back from the coronavirus shopping restrictions and said it will begin to open more. “We are excited to welcome back our customers and associates at these locations, and we will continue to take actions to be best positioned to build on our over 100-year history,” Soltau said.

The list of the 154 stores closing can be found here

On May 15, JC Penney entered into a restructuring support agreement with lenders holding approximately 70% of JC Penney’s first lien debt to reduce its outstanding indebtedness and strengthen its financial position. To implement the financial restructuring plan, the company filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

Previous reports ruminated on the possibility of Amazon buying JC Penney because of its strong private brand apparel and home goods, including the Arizona apparel brand and its brand-new Linden Street own brand bedding.