JCPenney confirmed Monday it will close 242 stores across the United States, coming just three days after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, as the CCP virus pandemic continues to take its toll on brick-and-mortar retailers.
After the closings are completed, JCPenney will only operate just over 600 locations, down from 846, according to a document filed with the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC). The closures represent about 30 percent of the retailer’s stores, and they will be shuttered between the current fiscal year and the next fiscal year, according to The Associated Press.
Some 192 stores will be shut down for the current fiscal year, and then 50 more will be closed the following year, the company stated.
Despite the impact of CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, a novel coronavirus that emerged in China, JCPenney has suffered declining sales and has been saddled with debt for years.
The latest plan “reflects latest thinking on stores as of April 2020” and the “exact number continues to evolve,” the firm wrote, reported Business Insider.
On May 15, the Plano, Texas-based retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Neither that filing or Monday’s filing with the SEC noted how many of the firm’s 85,000 employees would be laid off as a result of the store closings.
JCPenney is the fourth national retailer to announce a bankruptcy filing in May alone as the CCP virus continues to wreak havoc on businesses. J.Crew on May 4 filed for bankruptcy, as did Neiman Marcus and Stage Stores days later.
Meanwhile, Nordstrom announced it would shutter some 16 stores across the United States due to fallout from pandemic store closures.
“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,” JCPenney CEO Jill Soltau said in a statement on May 15 when making the announcement the longtime chain would restructure.
“Until this pandemic struck, we had made significant progress rebuilding our company under our Plan for Renewal strategy–and our efforts had already begun to pay off,” her statement said. “While we had been working in parallel on options to strengthen our balance sheet and extend our financial runway, the closure of our stores due to the pandemic necessitated a more fulsome review to include the elimination of outstanding debt.”