JCPenney has identified the first round of 154 retail location closures, after an assessment of its store footprint and evaluation of “future strategic fit” as well as performance. The retailer said closing sales will commence at 154 stores following a court order entered at a U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas hearing on June 11, according to a statement.
Jill Soltau, chief executive officer of JCPenney, said in the statement, “While closing stores is always an extremely difficult decision, our store optimization 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 serving our loyal customers for decades to come.”
JCPenney said store closing sales for the first store closure phase are predicted to last for 10 to 16 weeks, and it foresees that further phases of store closing sales will commence in the weeks to come. The company said it looks to decrease its footprint of retail locations and put resources toward its jcp.com online flagship store as well as its most formidable retail locations.
Soltau said, “We will remain one of the nation’s largest apparel and home retailers as we continue to operate a majority of our stores and our flagship store, jcp.com, to ensure our valued customers continue to have access to the products and brands they need and want.”
JCPenney had made a restructuring support agreement with lenders that had roughly 70 percent of its first lien debt to bolster its financial standing and decrease its “outstanding indebtedness,” as announced on May 15. The retailer said it had filed voluntary reorganization petitions under Chapter 11 to put the financial restructuring plan into place.
In separate news, the retailer had disclosed that it paid approximately $17 million in interest on a senior secured term loan credit facility to steer clear of a default.