According to J.C. Penney Spokeswoman Sarah Holland, 40 of the chain’s under performing stores will be closing this April. The news comes shortly after Sears Holdings announced potential closings of hundreds of Sears and Kmart stores this year as well.
The announcement comes after profitable holiday season, much to the surprise of many employees and customers. According to sales figures, same-store sales increased 3.7 percent during the height of the holiday season. The closure will represent approximately 4 percent of the current 1,060 U.S.-based J.C. Penney stores, and will affect nearly 2,250 employees total.
Despite an increase in holiday sales, J.C. Penny’s stock price was down approximately 2 percent on Thursday morning after the announcement of the store closures, according to NBC News. After evaluating the performance of individual stores, it was concluded that closing those that underperformed would allow J.C. Penney to lower costs and still accommodate the locales via online sales. Spokeswoman Sarah Holland stated that the closures would allow for future growth.
“We continually evaluate our store portfolio to determine whether there’s a need to close or relocate underperforming stores. While it’s never an easy decision to close stores, especially due to the impact on our valued associates and customers, we feel this is a necessary business decision.”
Store leader Tom Meulemans told the Herald Whig that he has been with J.C. Penney for 30 years and has never been through a store closure. However, he realizes that the retail world is ever evolving. As a result, he is not upset at the decision.
“I’m not mad. I’m not resentful. I’ve got none of that.”
Customers, on the other hand, are not as understanding, and feel that being forced to shop online at J.C. Penny is not a satisfactory alternative. Amy Shank shared her dismay.
“I like to be able to hold something in my hand, to touch it and be able to ask questions.”
Others, however, knew the decision must have been in the works, such as Terry Mast of Quincy, Illinois.
“I’m shocked at losing a major store like that. But my wife and I were saying just the other day that we couldn’t remember there ever being so little merchandise as there is now in the store.”
Although over 2,000 employees will be losing their jobs, J.C. Penney’s corporate media and relations representative, Joey Thomas, shared that all eligible employees who remain on staff throughout the closings will receive separation benefits, as well as on-site career training to assist with writing resumes, filling out applications, and answering interview questions.
A full list of stores that will be closing is below. Is your local store on the list? How do you feel about the closure?
[Photo Courtesy: Business Insider]