Emporia’s JCPenney is one of 154 stores that will permanently close, the company announced Thursday.
“As of this morning we have no information other than they have decided to close our store,” Flinthills Mall Manager Clarence Frye told The Emporia Gazette in an email. “JCPenney filed for Chapter 11 a few weeks ago and we are sad that they have chosen the Emporia location for one of their many closings.”
The stores are reportedly set to close starting next week in what the company is calling the first phase of its efforts to shrink its footprint.Frye said he believes the Emporia still will begin a liquidation sale next week. Details are forthcoming.
The Plano, Texas-based retailer said it could take about 10 to 16 weeks to complete the closures. A list of the stores closing was published on Penney’s website.
“While closing stores is always an extremely difficult decision, our store optimization strategy is vital to ensuring we emerge from both Chapter 11 and the COVID-19 pandemic as a stronger retailer with greater financial flexibility to allow us to continue serving our loyal customers for decades to come,” Jill Soltau, chief executive officer of JCPenney, said in a written statement. “I am incredibly grateful to our talented associates for their ongoing dedication and their passion for meeting and exceeding our customers’ expectations during this difficult and uncertain time. All impacted associates will be treated with the utmost consideration and respect.”
JCPenney filed for bankruptcy protection in May, making it the biggest retailer to do since the coronavirus pandemic forced non-essential stores to be shut down temporarily. J.Crew and Neiman Marcus sought bankruptcy protection days before JCPenney. All three were laden with debt and had trouble connecting with shoppers, who are increasingly skipping the mall and shopping online.
As part of its bankruptcy reorganization, Penney said it planned to permanently close nearly a third of its 846 stores in the next two years. That would leave it with just over 600 locations.