JCPenney CEO thanks staff as 154 stores prepare to close

The Texas-based retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month in order to survive the coronavirus pandemic amid a bleak retail backdrop

Struggling department store chain JCPenney has announced that 154 US stores are set to close after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The closures will span 38 states including California, Florida, Michigan and New York.

As part of the company’s store optimisation strategy, JCPenney will focus resources on its strongest performing stores and e-commerce channel.

“While closing stores is always an extremely difficult decision, our store optimisation strategy is vital to ensuring we emerge from both Chapter 11 and the Covid-19 pandemic as a stronger retailer with greater financial flexibility to allow us to continue to serve our loyal customers for decades to come,” said Jill Soltau, JCPenney’s CEO.

“I am incredibly grateful to our talented associates for their ongoing dedication and their passion for meeting and exceeding our customers’ expectations during this difficult and uncertain time.

“All impacted associates will be the utmost consideration and respect.”

The retailer expects additional phased store closing sales to begin in the coming weeks.

Almost 500 JCPenney stores have reopened for business after the coronavirus lockdown, with government guideline restrictions.

The Texas-based retailer entered a restructuring agreement with lenders in May to hold around 70% of its first lien debt.

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