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article imageJ.C. Penney announces closing of 33 stores nationwide

By Karen Graham     Jan 15, 2014 in Business
One of the oldest retailers in the United States, J. C. Penney has succumbed to a difficult and troubling past year. Investment and profit losses have eaten into the company's bottom line, forcing the layoff of employees and the closing of stores.
J. C. Penney Company, Inc., announced on Wednesday the closing of 33 "under-performing" stores across the country. The closings included stores in Alabama, Mississippi, Virginia and Wisconsin. For a complete list of stores closing their doors, Click Here.
The closures are expected to begin in the next few months, and will affect over 2,000 employees who will be losing their jobs. The company said in a statement that the closings will result in a savings of approximately $65 million a year.
Interestingly, even with the coming store closures, the company is planning more store openings, including a location in Brooklyn, N.Y.
J. C. Penney has been in deep financial trouble for the past couple of years. CEO Ron Johnson was fired in April of 2013, and in an effort to bring back positive revenue growth, former boss, Myron E. Ullman III was brought back into the fold. The company also reverted to a former merchandising strategy to lure customers back.
The retailer wasn't the only company to report less than profitable yearly forecasts. Most companies gave the past holiday sales season a good grade, but didn't consider it spectacular, possibly owing to consumers holding back on spending in the still-uncertain economic climate.
In a statement on Wednesday, Ullman was quoted as saying, “As we continue to progress toward long-term profitable growth, it is necessary to re-examine the financial performance of our store portfolio and adjust our national footprint accordingly. While it’s always difficult to make a business decision that impacts our valued customers and associates, this important step addresses a strategic priority to improve the profitability of our stores and position J. C. Penney for future success.”
One of the main objectives of the new plan is reversing the overly aggressive "reinvention" plan instituted by former CEO Johnson. That plan alienated many loyal J. C. Penney's customers. The company is overturning another Johnson plan and adding back sales commissions, especially in the jewelry and home furnishings departments.
File photo: Customers at the J.C. Penney store in Westminster  Colorado
File photo: Customers at the J.C. Penney store in Westminster, Colorado
With permission by Reuters / Rick Wilking
A girl is looking at the toys inside J.C. Penney store
A girl is looking at the toys inside J.C. Penney store
With permission by Reuters
A JC Penny department store is shown in Escondido  California
A JC Penny department store is shown in Escondido, California
With permission by Reuters / Mike Blake
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