Another round of changes for shoppers

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J.C. Penney Company will close 130 to 140 stores and two distribution centers during the next several months as it aims to improve profitability in the era of online shopping.
Which JCPenney stores will close will be released in mid-March, after all affected staff have been notified. The closures are expected to save the company $200 million per year and are expected to take place in the second quarter of 2017.
But don’t worry, an inside source, although nothing official, has informed The Grizzly Detail Newspaper that the J.C. Penny Store in Ridgmar Mall is there to stay.
“Although things will be slow at this location for the next few months, this mall is going through a major renovation with new stores coming to attract more shoppers,” said the inside source. “We will be here for the long hall.”
In a statement released last week the company said, “The stores identified for closure either require significant capital to achieve the Company’s new brand standard or are minimally cash flow positive today relative to the Company’s overall consolidated average.”
While which stores will close remains a mystery, the company did say a distribution center in Lakeland, Florida will be closed and that a supply chain facility in Buena Park, California was being sold “to monetize a lucrative real estate asset.”
The news came as JCPenney posted a profit in the fourth-quarter compared to a loss a year ago. The company posted quarterly sales of $3.96 billion, down 0.9 percent from $3.99 billion a year ago.
JCPenney is joining other department stores like Macy’s who are shrinking footprints amid challenges in the industry.
CEO Marvin R. Ellison also announced a voluntary early retirement program that about 6,000 employees are eligible for.
“We understand that closing stores will impact the lives of many hard working associates, which is why we have decided to initiate a voluntary early retirement program for approximately 6,000 eligible associates. 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,” added Ellison.

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