JCPenney Is Closing Even More Locations, Starting Next Month
The retailer said that the liquidation process will begin in February.
While JCPenney has, in many ways, withstood the test of time, it's not immune from the challenges that have felled other department stores. The 121-year-old retailer has faced ongoing issues in recent years, even filing for bankruptcy and closing 200 stores after the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020. As with Bed Bath & Beyond and Macy's, it now finds itself in "the mushy middle," retail experts told NPR, meaning it doesn't have a unique online presence, but also doesn't have a "big-box" label, where shoppers know they're scoring an awesome deal. Even with an improving economy, things still aren't looking great, as JCPenney is shuttering more stores. Read on to find out which JCPenney locations are closing this spring, with liquidations starting next month.
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The first JCPenney to close will start liquidating next month.
A JCPenney in Elkhart, Indiana, is on the chopping block, according to NBC-affiliate WDNU. The store has been a staple in Concord Mall since 1976, but it will see its final day this spring.
"JCPenney has kind of always been one of those places that has always helped to bring people to that area, even if they weren't going to the mall, they were going to JC Penney," Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce President Levon Johnson told the outlet.
Concord Mall has had five different owners in recent years, Johnson said, citing lease pricing negotiations as the primary reason for the closure. "Little bit of a surprise, you know they've recently invested, in the last six months a great deal of money in the renovation and lighting in the store," he added.
In a statement to WDNU, JCPenney confirmed the closure, but didn't include any details about lease negotiations.
"Our JCPenney store at the Concord Mall will be closing its doors. The liquidation process will begin this February, with the store closing by May of this year," the statement reads. "The decision to close a store is never an easy one. We are grateful for our dedicated associates and the loyal customers who have shopped at our Elkhart, Indiana location."
New York is losing a JCPenney as well.
In Oswego, New York, another longstanding JCPenney is closing up shop. A store employee confirmed the closure to Oswego County News Now, and a spokesperson for JCPenney told Best Life that this location will also begin the liquidation process in February and close by May of this year.
The store, located in Oswego Plaza, has been mainstay since 1977, narrowly escaping closure in 2020, Oswego County News Now reported. "They've been saying it would close for years and now I guess it's true," Pat Walsh, an Oswego resident who worked at the store until 2013, told the outlet.
Still, shoppers are sad to see it go. "That's a shame. I don't know why they can't stay open," customer Bob Nolan said, while Charry Snyder, another Oswego resident, expressed her disappointment as a frequent shopper. "This is the biggest store we have for clothes," she told Oswego County News Now.
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JCPenney dispelled rumors about a California closure—and confirmed another in Minnesota.
Since summer 2022, rumors have circulated about a JCPenney store in Pleasanton, California, but the company spokesperson told Best Life, "JCPenney has no plans to close our Pleasanton, CA store."
However, the spokesperson did confirm that a third JCPenney store in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, will also be closing this year, beginning the liquidation process in February and closing by May.
"We are grateful to our dedicated associates and the loyal customers who have shopped at our Elkhart, Oswego and Detroit Lakes locations," the spokesperson said.
JCPenney is under new leadership and trying to make proactive changes.
According to a report from CNN Business in Nov. 2022, JCPenney is attempting to "make a comeback" under CEO Marc Rosen, who took over in 2021.
"I believe in taking on large scale transformation," Rosen told CNN Business in a video interview. "There was an opportunity to really take this brand and make it relevant again."
The department store recently ended a partnership with beauty retailer Sephora, but under Rosen, the company has remodeled brick-and-mortar locations, introduced new brands, and also improved its online experience, CNN Business reported. The CEO confirmed that these strategies had successfully drawn more customers to JCPenney ahead of the 2022 holiday shopping season.