J. C. Penney closing up to 140 stores
J. C. Penney Co. Inc. has announced plans to close two distribution facilities and 130 to 140 stores over the next few months. A list of the planned store closures will be released mid-March, the Plano, Texas-based retailer said in a statement.
According to its website, J. C. Penney has 24 stores in Virginia. Nearly all affected stores are expected to close in the second quarter of 2017.
In a statement J. C. Penney chairman and CEO Marvin R. Ellison said that last year, the company achieved its target of $1 billion in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) target and recorded a net profit for the first time since 2010.
“However, we believe we must take aggressive action to better align our retail operations for sustainable growth. During the year, it became evident the stores that could fully execute the company's growth initiatives of beauty, home refresh and special sizes generated significantly higher sales, and a more vibrant in-store shopping environment,” he said. “We believe the relevance of our brick and mortar portfolio will be driven by the implementation of these initiatives consistently to a larger percent of our stores. Therefore, our decision to close stores will allow us to raise the overall brand standard of the company and allocate capital more efficiently.”
The total store closures represent approximately 13 to 14 percent of the company's current stores. J. C. Penney said it expects to save about $200 million annually from the move.
Associates who will be affected by the store and distribution center closures will receive separation benefits, including assistance identifying other employment opportunities and outplacement services such as resume writing and interview preparation. Approximately 6,000 associates also will be eligible for the Voluntary Early Retirement Program.
“By coordinating the timing of these two events, we can expect to see a net increase in hiring as the number of full-time associates expected to take advantage of the early retirement incentive will far exceed the number of full-time positions affected by the store closures,” Ellison said.