|JCPenney to close four stores in South Dakota
News Staff - March 17, 2017
UNDATED - J.C. Penney has released the list of 138 stores it plans to close in an effort to cut costs and grow sales at its strongest locations. Four of them are in South Dakota.
The release comes a few weeks after Penney's said it would close up to 140 stores this year, following similar decisions from Macy's and Sears. Between the companies' four biggest chains, which include Sears' Kmart brand, more than 300 big-box stores will go dark this year alone.
The closures highlight the pressures on traditional department stores, which are losing market share to off-price competitors and Amazon. They also underscore the deteriorating economics at lower-quality shopping centers, whose risk of failure rises when an anchor tenant exits.
"We believe closing stores will allow us to adjust our business to effectively compete against the growing threat of online retailers," J.C. Penney CEO Marvin Ellison said in a statement back in February.
The company said at that time that most of its closures would occur in the second quarter. Liquidations will start April 17, it said Friday.
Penney's expects to save roughly $200 million a year by exiting these locations, which contributed less than 5 percent of its annual sales. It plans to invest in its best stores and digital operations while whittling down $4.3 billion in long-term debt.
Roughly 5,000 jobs will be affected by the closures, Penney's said Friday. At the time of its initial announcement, the company said it would provide some 6,000 employees with a "voluntary early retirement program," depending on their age and tenure. Eligible employees have until March 31 to decide whether they will accept the package, a spokeswoman said.
In addition to that offer, Penney's said Friday that it is trying to relocate certain leaders and will provide outplacement support services for eligible workers.
Stores closing in South Dakota are at the Palace Mall in Mitchell, Northridge Plaza in Pierre, Watertown Mall in Watertown and the Yankton Mall in Yankton.
Wyoming loses the JCPenney in Sheridan and in North Dakota, Dickinson, Wahpeton and Jamestown will lose their stores.