J.C. Penney closing Washington store

Washington Mall store one of 33 deemed ‘underperforming’

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The J.C. Penney store at Washington Mall is among 33 stores slated to be closed this spring, according to an announcement from the retailer late Wednesday afternoon.


Penney said in a news release it was closing the stores, which it said were underperforming, and cutting 2,000 jobs as it tries to stop slumping business.


The company said remaining inventory in the affected stores will be sold over the next several months, with final closing expected to be completed by early May.


The company said eligible associates who do not remain with the company will receive separation benefits packages.


A call from the Observer-Reporter to J.C. Penney’s media department in Plano, Texas, seeking additional information was not immediately returned.


In addition to the Washington Mall store, the list included Pennsylvania store closings in Exton and Hazleton. There are nine J.C. Penney stores in Southwestern Pennsylvania.


The news comes after J.C. Penney earlier this month said it was pleased with holiday results but declined to give sales figures. A strong November and December is crucial to retailers since it can account for as much as 40 percent of annual sales.


The company said the cuts should save more than $65 million annually. The company will take $26 million in charges in the third quarter and $17 million afterward. Penney has 116,000 staffers. All the job cuts are related to the store closings.


Penney is trying to recover from a sales spiral that occurred under former CEO Ron Johnson. The company brought back former CEO Mike Ullman in April.


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