J.C. Penney will close almost 30% of its 846 stores as part of a restructuring under bankruptcy protection. The ailing department store said Monday that it plans to close about 192 stores by February 2021, and then 50 additional stores in the year after that.
That would leave the company with just over 600 locations. J.C. Penney filed for bankruptcy reorganization on Friday, making it the biggest retailer to do since the coronavirus pandemic forced them to shut down all stores.
J.C. Penney said court has authorized the company to continue paying non-furloughed associate wages, provide certain benefits to all associates, and to pay vendor partners in the ordinary course for all goods and services.
"By entering this restructuring support agreement with our lenders, we expect to reduce several billion dollars of indebtedness, provide increased financial flexibility to help navigate through the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and better position J.C. Penney for the long-term," Jill Soltau, chief executive officer of JCPenney, said.
Soltau added, "The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for our families, our loved ones, our communities, and our country. As a result, the American retail industry has experienced a profoundly different new reality, requiring JCPenney to make difficult decisions in running our business to protect the safety of our associates and customers and the future of our company."
While J.C. Penney once had nearly 2,000 locations during the 70s, the companies footprint leveled off at nearly 1,100 stores. But in recent years, the number of locations dropped to around 840.