NEW YORK (AP) — J.C. Penney says it is closing 154 stores nationwide in what it is calling the first phase of its efforts to shrink its footprint.
According to USA Today, the retailer received bankruptcy court approval on Thursday to begin liquidation sales at stores that are permanently closing.
The Plano, Texas-based retailer said it could take about 10 to 16 weeks to complete the closures.
“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 in a press release. “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.”
Penney filed for bankruptcy protection last month, making it the biggest retailer to do since the coronavirus pandemic forced non-essential stores to be shut down temporarily.
As part of its bankruptcy reorganization, Penney said it planned to permanently close nearly a third of its 846 stores in the next two years.
That would leave it with just over 600 locations.