The Plano, Texas-based chain, which declared bankruptcy last month, announced today that store closing sales have begun at 136 stores across the country. Shoppers will be able to see 25% to 40% off original prices, with all merchandise marked on sale.
The company is also offering deeper discounts of 40% off on fine jewelry and window treatments, while new seasonal essentials including swimwear and sunglasses are marked down 25% to 30%. Sales are considered final starting June 25.
“Due to the name recognition and goodwill of this brand, we encourage consumers to shop early to take advantage of the best selection of products as we expect merchandise to sell very quickly,” a spokesperson wrote in a statement. “JCPenney store associates remain committed to providing customers with an engaging shopping experience while offering even better deals on the most popular merchandise.”
The department store chain will continue to operate with temporarily reduced hours from noon to 7 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. At-risk customers — including senior citizens, expectant mothers and people with underlying health conditions — have been designated an extra hour before opening to shop. To promote safety among employees and customers amid the coronavirus pandemic, JCPenney said it has enforced social distancing guidelines at its outposts, which are also outfitted with hand-sanitizing stations and plexiglass shields.
The closures are part of the retailer’s store optimization strategy as outlined in its bankruptcy plan: In an effort to focus its resources on its top-performing locations and e-commerce business, the company aims to significantly reduce its brick-and-mortar footprint. It expects to close 242 doors, or about 29% of its fleet, by February.
Early this month, JCPenney released a list of 154 stores across 20 states that it had planned to shut down over the summer. That roster of closures has been whittled down to the recently announced 136 units. “A handful of previously announced store closing locations remain on hold pending further review,” a spokesperson added. (An updated list of stores can be viewed on JCPenney’s website.)
After several years struggling with declining sales, increasing digital competition and numerous leadership changes, the 118-year-old chain filed for Chapter 11 protection on May 15. According to court documents, it had $500 million in cash at hand and received debtor-in-possession financing commitments of $900 million.