J.C. Penney, which announced late last week it will close some stores under Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, will name stores to be closed and specific details about their closing “in the coming weeks.”
No stores have yet been named for closure, Dione Martin, corporate communications director with J.C. Penney, said in an email to The Durango Herald.
Durango’s J.C. Penney has been closed during the COVID-19 pandemic since late March and it remains closed. A sign on the front door says the store is temporarily closed, but it does not give a date when it will reopen.
Telephone calls to the Durango store were sent to a voice message.
J.C. Penney has served Durango for more than 100 years. The store was previously located on Main Avenue but moved to the Durango Mall when the mall opened in 1982.
In November 2017, the Durango J.C. Penney was one of six stores the giant retailer converted to a clearance center in an attempt to explore new growth opportunities and attract new customers, company officials said at the time.
However, in August 2018, the Durango store and the other five outlets returned to Penney’s regular full-line sales.
The other J.C. Penney clearance centers were located in Alamosa; Paris, Texas; Scottsboro, Alabama; St. Augustine, Florida; and McCombs, Mississippi.
Penney, a 118-year-old company, is the biggest retailer to file for bankruptcy reorganization since the COVID-19 pandemic and joins Neiman Marcus, J.Crew and Stage Stores in bankruptcy.
U.S. retail sales tumbled a record 16.4% from March to April.
“The coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for our families, our loved ones, our communities and our country,” Penney’s CEO Jill Soltau said in a statement. “As a result, the American retail industry has experienced a profoundly different new reality, requiring J.C. Penney to make difficult decisions in running our business to protect the safety of our associates and customers and the future of our company.”
J.C. Penney has $500 million in cash on hand and has received commitments of $900 million in financing to help it operate during the restructuring, according to a corporate news release. It said that it will be looking at different options, including the sale of the company.
The restructuring should reduce several billion dollars of its debt and provide more flexibility to navigate the financial fallout from the pandemic, the news release said.
For the fiscal fourth quarter ending Feb. 1, sales at J.C. Penney stores that had been open for at least a year dropped 4.7%, adjusted for the chain dropping sales of appliances. Profits were down 64%.
J.C. Penney operates 850 stores across the United States and Puerto Rico. It also operates the e-commerce website jcp.com. It employs 85,000 people.
[email protected] The Associated Press contributed to this story.