J.C. Penney on Friday unveiled a list of the 138 department stores nationwide that it will shutter in the next few months, and three Philadelphia area locations made the list.
J.C. Penney store locations at the King of Prussia Mall, the Philadelphia Mills Mall, and at Willow Grove Park will all be shut down possibly as soon as June, the company said. Most affected stores will begin liquidation sales on April 17th.
The J.C. Penney location at Rio Grande Plaza in Rio Grande New Jersey, off of the Garden State Parkway near Wildwood, also wasn’t spared.
The retailer announced that 5,000 positions will be affected by the closures. Some J.C. Penney employees, the company’s “esteemed leaders,” may be able to find new positions within the company.
The company tipped the public off to the closures back in February when it released a plan to optimize its retail operation to advance growth and drive profitability. J.C. Penney CEO Marvin R. Ellison told investors that the company’s footprint was too large and that the downsizing would help them elevate the “brand standard” of the company.
The CEO’s words echo those of other retail leaders across the country who’ve made similar decisions to close brick-and-mortar locations in the face of competition from fast-fashion outlets like H&M, discounters like T.J. Maxx and e-commerce in general. The list of companies shutting down stores includes legacy names like Macy’s, Sears, and The Limited. Urban Outfitters’ CEO recently proclaimed that the retail bubble has burst, a sign that stores should scale back in an oversaturated landscape.
J.C. Penney says it will be adding beauty products, appliances, home goods and toys as part of its strategy to appeal to a customer base that’s 70 percent women.
“Closing a store is never an easy decision, especially given the local impact on valued employees and our most loyal shoppers,” Ellison said in a statement. “While any actions that reduce or exclude our presence in communities across the country is always difficult, it is essential that J.C. Penney continues to evolve in order to achieve long-term growth and profitability and deliver on shareholder value.”
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