JCPenney is closing another 13 stores

JCPenney will close another 13 stores for good. The department store chain, which filed for bankruptcy last month, is inching toward its target of closing 250 stores -- about 30% of its network of 846 locations.

JCPenney will close another 13 stores for good.

The department store chain, which filed for bankruptcy last month, is inching toward its target of closing 250 stores -- about 30% of its network of 846 locations.

The company previously said it expects 200 of those closures will happen by the end of this summer, with the remaining 50 closing by next summer. Most of the 13 stores in the latest round will start liquidation sales on or around July 3. Seven of the stores in this round are in Michigan: Greenville, Owosso, Big Rapids, Alma, Bay City, Mt. Pleasant and Okemos.

The remaining stores are in Bay Shore and Poughkeepsie, New York; Omak and Sunnyside, Washington; Hyattsville, Maryland; and Concord, California.

Before Tuesday's announcement, 136 stores had already begun liquidation sales.

Store-closing sales are vital for bankrupt retailers to raise cash during a court-supervised reorganization. With the pandemic keeping many stores shuttered in late March and throughout April, some bankruptcy filings were delayed because of the inability to hold these sales.

But it's not clear just how successful the sales will be, as many shoppers are still reluctant to venture out to stores and others are cutting back purchases as job losses have reached a record highs in recent months.

JCPenney is the largest national retailer to file for bankruptcy in the wake of the pandemic, along with J.Crew and Neiman Marcus.

All three companies said they intend to stay in business, however. The bankruptcy process allows companies to shed debt and other liabilities it can no longer afford.

The process can give a company a second lease on life. Some companies that filed for bankruptcy in recent decades, including General Motors and many of the nation's airlines, actually posted record profits after emerging from bankruptcy.

But not every company that files for Chapter 11 planning to stay in business is ultimately able to do so. Pier 1, which filed for bankruptcy on February 17 -- ahead of the stay-at-home orders that shut many stores nationwide -- has since said it will permanently close all of its stores and go out of business.

JCPenney may have been forced into bankruptcy by the Covid-19 crisis, but it has been ailing for a while. Many shoppers have turned away from traditional department stores and malls, instead buying more goods from online retailers like Amazon or big-box chains like Walmart, Costco and Target. These companies offer lower prices and a wider range of goods, including groceries.

This news isn't just bad for JCPenney. Now Macy's, Sears and Kohl's must compete with rock-bottom prices at many JCPenney stores. And the closings are a downbeat sign for malls struggling to once again attract shoppers, as JCPenney is typically a mall anchor.

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