J.C. Penney announced that it has taken the first step in implementing its store optimization strategy. Following a comprehensive evaluation of its retail footprint and a careful analysis of store performance and future strategic fit for the company, JCPenney identified the first phase of 154 store closures.
Following entry of an order at the June 11, 2020, hearing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, in Corpus Christi, Texas, store closing sales will begin at 154 locations.
The company expects additional phases of store closing sales will begin in the coming weeks. As the company remains focused on its plan for renewal and driving sustainable, profitable growth, it intends to reduce its store footprint and focus resources on its strongest stores and powerful e-commerce flagship store, jcp.com. Store closing sales for the first round of store closures are expected to take 10-16 weeks to complete.
“While closing stores is always an extremely difficult decision, our store optimization strategy is vital to ensuring we emerge from both Chapter 11 and the COVID-19 pandemic as a stronger retailer with greater financial flexibility to allow us to continue serving our loyal customers for decades to come,” said Jill Soltau, Chief Executive Officer of JCPenney. “I am incredibly grateful to our talented associates for their ongoing dedication and their passion for meeting and exceeding our customers’ expectations during this difficult and uncertain time. All impacted associates will be treated with the utmost consideration and respect.”
Soltau continued, “We 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, jcp.com, to ensure our valued customers continue to have access to the products and brands they need and want. As of June 4, 2020, we have reopened nearly 500 stores since government officials have eased COVID-19 restrictions and we look forward to opening 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.”
As previously announced on May 15, 2020, JCPenney entered into a restructuring support agreement with lenders holding approximately 70 percent of JCPenney’s first lien debt to reduce the company’s 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.