Human Resources, Real Estate, and Retail

Department store chain closing locations

February 24, 2017
| By Pat Evans |
TAGS JCPenny
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JCPenney store exterior
JCPenney says its mission is to ensure every customer's shopping experience is worth their "time, money and effort." Photo via wikimedia.org

A department store chain with locations across West Michigan has major consolidation plans.

J.C. Penney Company said today it plans to close between 130-140 stores in the coming months, two distribution facilities and offer more than 6,000 employees early retirement benefits.

A full list of JCPenney store closures is expected to be released in March.

The national retailer operates a number of stores in the region: Woodland Mall in Grand Rapids; Rivertown Crossing in Grandville; Greenville West Mall; The Shops at Westshore in Holland; The Lakes Mall in Muskegon; Crossroads Mall in Portage; and Lakeview Square Mall in Battle Creek.

The stores closing would represent about 14 percent of the company’s stores and less than 5 percent of annual sales. The company would expect to save about $200 million annually.

The company said it achieved its $1-billion EBITDA target and first profit since 2010, but these planned scale backs are meant to align for more growth, J.C. Penney Company Chairman and CEO Marvin Ellison said.

The company will focus on initiatives for beauty, home refresh and special sizes, Ellison said.

“We believe the relevance of our brick-and-mortar portfolio will be driven by the implementation of these initiatives consistently to a larger percent of our stores,” Ellison said. “Therefore, our decision to close stores will allow us to raise the overall brand standard of the company and allocate capital more efficiently.”

Ellison expects maintaining a large portfolio of physical stores will help “compete against the growing threat of online retailers.” The company will maintain more than 1,000 stores nationwide.

J.C. Penney Company will sell its Buena Park, California supply chain facility and shutter its Lakeland, Florida distribution center. Operations will be moved to the company’s logistics center in Atlanta.

Employees affected by the store and distribution closures will receive undisclosed benefits. The retailer will help those employees in identify employment opportunities and with resume writing and interview preparation.

“Closing a store is never an easy decision, especially given the local impact on valued employees and our most loyal shoppers,” Ellison said. “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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