J.C. Penney closing 242 stores in wake of COVID-19

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J.C. Penney announced 29%, or 242 of its 846 stores, will close between the current fiscal year and next fiscal year. Courtesy J.C. Penney

J.C. Penney plans to close hundreds of its stores in 2020 as part of its bankruptcy.

According to a report from the Detroit Free Press, J.C. Penney filed for bankruptcy earlier in May. The retailer recently announced 29%, or 242 of its 846 stores, will close between the current fiscal year and next fiscal year.

At press time, the company still is early in the process and doesn’t currently have a list of the stores impacted by the restructuring.

West Michigan J.C. Penney locations include Woodland Mall in Kentwood, Rivertown Crossing in Grandville, Greenville West Mall, The Lakes Mall in Muskegon and Crossroads Mall in Portage, according to the company store finder.

In a statement, J.C. Penney said implementing the financial restructuring will allow it to accelerate its store optimization strategy. Stores will close in phases throughout the Chapter 11 process, and the first phase of closures, including specific store details and timing, will be disclosed in the coming weeks.

Additional information from J.C. Penney indicated the company filed for bankruptcy because of strains put on the retail industry by COVID-19. The company entered into a restructuring support agreement with first-lien lenders holding approximately 70% of J.C. Penney’s first-lien debt to reduce the company’s outstanding debt and strengthen its financial position.

The RSA is expected to reduce several billion dollars of debt, provide increased financial flexibility to help the company navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic and better position J.C. Penney for the long term.

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