Amazon Eyes JCPenney Buy

Amazon could be in talks to acquire the bankrupt clothing retailer JCPenney, Fox Business reported Monday (May 19), citing Women’s Wear Daily (WWD).

JCPenney officially filed for bankruptcy late Friday (May 15), ending speculation as to the beleaguered former retail titan’s financial status.

Now, Amazon could be moving in.

One source, according to WWD, was “in Plano as we speak,” referring to the Texas city where JCPenney is headquartered.

“There is a dialogue, and I’m told it has a lot to do with Amazon eager to expand its apparel business,” the source said, according to the outlet.

JCPenney is also expected to have more store closings. According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, that would bring the number to 604 total, Fox Business reported. The retailer’s shares were suspended in the extended session before the New York Stock Exchange announced they would be suspended. This is a common practice when a company officially files for bankruptcy.

Neither JCPenney nor Amazon had any comment to reporters on the issue.

PYMNTS reported Friday that JCPenney’s bankruptcy filing came after the company reached an agreement with 70 percent of its lenders as well as a debt restructuring program expected to help reduce the debt and provide more flexibility particularly in the middle of the financial crisis.

The company had also just avoided defaulting by way of a $17 million payment to a senior secured term loan credit facility.

The coronavirus pandemic, with its wide-spread closings of non-essential businesses like mall clothing retailers, was a death blow for the already-struggling JCPenney, which has faced similar problems of other department stores, such as an increasing focus on eCommerce over physical retail.

But the coronavirus, as CEO Jill Soltau said in a statement, had created “unprecedented challenges” for employees and their families and thus forced the company to make difficult decisions, even in light of what she said were improvements in the company prior to the pandemic.