J.C. Penney closing 24 stores…stock jumps to $1.59

J.C. Penney

J.C. Penney is creeping closer to extinction. According to this USA Today report, the struggling retailer will be closing 24 under performing stores.

J.C. Penney plans to close 15 additional full-line stores and nine home-and-furniture locations as the retailer struggles to get its footing amid significant challenges for department stores.

The chain announced Thursday that it would close the stores because they are not performing well or “represent a real estate monetization opportunity.”

The company declined to release a list of stores set to close.

J.C. Penney had been reviewing its locations for potential closures as it seeks to cut costs amid a downturn in sales. The retailer had 864 department stores as of Nov. 3, according to a public filing.

The latest move comes after the company had already announced three full-line store closures in January, bringing the total closures for 2019 to 27.

“Comparable sales performance for the closing stores was significantly below the remaining store base and these stores operate at a much higher expense rate given the lack of productivity,” J.C. Penney said in a statement. “Associates who will be impacted by the store closures will receive separation benefits, which includes assistance identifying other employment opportunities and outplacement services, such as resume writing and interview preparation.”

The chain has largely scrapped sales of appliances and furniture to focus on clothing and home goods, which it sees as having more potential and more aligned with its core customers.

J.C. Penney has also been more disciplined in clearing its shelves and floors of merchandise that isn’t selling to focus on items that have more appeal.

“We have incredible products in our stores,” J.C. Penney’s recently appointed CEO, Jill Soltau, who is pursuing a turnaround, said in an earnings call with investors. “It’s also critically important to the customer experience.”