J.C. Penney could close almost 200 stores. Here’s what to know about the rumored bankruptcy

Photo Credit: JJBers

J.C. Penney is running low on pennies. The storied, 118-year-old department store is preparing to file for bankruptcy as early as next week, Reuters reported Friday.

The rumor mill has been churning on J. C. Penney’s impending collapse for weeks now, but this is the most detailed report to date from “people familiar with the matter.” The company plans to close 200 of its roughly 850 stores across the country, sources told Reuters. And while the company has not made a decision on restructuring, the report said it’s discussing an option to split into two separate entities—one that would own real estate and serve as a landlord to the other, which would operate retail.

A J.C. Penney spokesperson declined to comment to Fast Company.

The Plano, Texas-based retailer is also reportedly in talks for a debtor-in-possession loan of $400 to $500 million. The company was already nearly $4 billion in debt leading into the coronavirus pandemic, as the rise of e-commerce and competition from bargain-buy chains such as T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s had slashed its revenue. In 2012, a failed experiment in eliminating coupons—part of an attempt by then-CEO and former Apple executive Ron Johnson to model JCP stores after Apple stores—resulted in backlash from customers, further piling on losses.

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