JC Penney Co. plans to close as many as 140 stores and trim about 6,000 jobs through early retirement, becoming the latest department-store chain making a bold move to adjust to a world of lower mall traffic and fierce online competition. The closings represent as much as 14% of the company’s store base and less than 5% of total sales, the company said Friday. The moves, which also include shutting two distribution centers, will save about $200 million a year.
JC Penney’s plan echoes rival Macy’s Inc.’s announcement last year that it would shut about 100 of its stores to adjust to a world where consumers increasingly prefer shopping online to visiting malls. Sales at JC Penney, which is still working to recover from a disastrous attempted reinvention, are less than half of their 2002 peak.
The shares rose 1.5% to $6.96 at 7:18 a.m. in early trading in New York. JC Penney had been down 17% this year through yesterday’s close.