JCPenney closing 140 stores, cutting 6,000 jobs

FILE - In this Tuesday, June 19, 2012 file photo, shoppers walk in a J.C. Penney story in Plano, Texas. J.C. Penney Co. reported a bigger-than-expected loss in the third quarter on plummeting sales as customers continue to reject its move get rid of blockbuster sales in favor of everyday low pricing, according to reports Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

JCPenney will take a $225 million hit to its earnings from the cost of closing the stores. But it expects to save $200 million a year in payroll and other costs. It said the stores to be closed had weaker sales or would have needed expensive upgrades.

The company, in a news release, stated it does not intend to release a complete list of affected stores until the middle of March “pending notification of all affected personnel.”

Most stores slated to close will do so between April and June, according to the release.

Recent years have been hard on the clothing retailer, among the nation’s largest, with sales slumping in the face of changing consumer preferences. Online competition is not all to blame, experts said, because people are increasingly spending their money on food and other “experience-based” commodities rather than consumer goods.

The company said closing weak-performing stores would better allow the company to compete by increasing efficiency and allow them to better focus on online growth.

About 6,000 employees will be offered early retirement as part of the closings.

With about 1,000 stores operational nationwide, the closings represent a significant reduction in retail locations for the company, which in previous years has closed about 30 brick-and-mortar stores a year, according to Fortune Magazine.

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