By Wednesday, JCPenney plans to open back up nearly 500 stores that were shuttered amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Plano, Texas-based chain, which filed for bankruptcy two weeks ago, announced that it has resumed operations at 150 locations in 27 states, bringing the total number of reopened outposts to 304 across the country. Additionally, five stores are currently offering only contactless curbside pickup services.
As part of its phased reopening plan, JCPenney intends to have another roughly 200 units back in business by June 3.
“To do this, we’re operating differently and taking a strategic and consistent approach, keeping associate and customer safety as our top priority,” EVP of stores Jim DePaul said in a statement. “We are excited to welcome back our loyal customers and dedicated associates. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive as we reopen our doors, focused primarily on our enhanced safety measures.”
At the newly reopened locations, the company said it has equipped its associates with face masks, while cashiers have been working behind plexiglass shield barriers. All workers, it added, have been trained on safety practices, and its outposts are expected to be cleaned and sanitized throughout the day.
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“We continue to listen to our associates and customers and make additional adjustments as needed,” DePaul added. “We are so grateful to our associates for helping us navigate through this environment as we build on our long history and continue the JCPenney story.”
The announcement comes a week after the beleaguered retailer informed the Securities and Exchange Commission of its plans to shutter 242 of its 846 doors, or about 29% of its brick-and-mortar fleet, as it undergoes Chapter 11 proceedings. It anticipates closing 192 units by February 2021, or the end of the current fiscal year. An additional 50 locations will shut down the following fiscal year. At that point, JCPenney expects to have about 604 stores left.
JCPenney, which was founded 118 years ago, had $500 million in cash at hand and received debtor-in-possession financing commitments of $900 million at the time of its bankruptcy filing. As part of its transformation strategy, the company said it was focused on “driving traffic, offering compelling merchandise, providing an engaging experience, fueling growth and building a results-minded culture.”