JC Penney closing at least 130 stores. Should we be worried in Fort Smith


Department store chain J.C. Penney announced Friday it will be closing 130 to 140 stores as part of a plan to bring the company back to profitability.

In a release, the company said it delivered 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."

No specific stores were identified in the release, but a full list of the planned closures is coming in mid-March pending notification of personnel. Nearly all stores should be closed by the second quarter of 2017. A distribution center in Lakeland, Fla., will also close in early June.

The company said it will initiate a voluntary early retirement program for around 6,000 eligible associates, though it expects an eventual net increase in hiring as employees take advantage of the program.

The store closings represent 13 to 14 percent of J.C. Penney's portfolio and less than 5 percent of total annual sales.

"While any actions that reduce or exclude our presence in communities across the country is always difficult, it is essential that JCPenney continues to evolve in order to achieve long-term growth and profitability and deliver on shareholder value," J.C. Penney's chairman and chief executive Marvin R. Ellison said in the release.


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