J.C. Penney says four stores in Minnesota are among more than 150 nationwide it plans to close as it goes through bankruptcy.
The struggling retailer filed for bankruptcy in May. It announced Thursday that it expects closing sales will begin later this month at stores in Maple Grove, Eden Prairie, Coon Rapids and Willmar. The J.C. Penney in Brookings, S.D., also is on the closure list.
Those stores are slated to close for good in three to four months, once closing sales are complete. The retailer has 11 other locations in Minnesota.
J.C. Penney said in a news release that the 154 closures announced Thursday are a "first phase," and that it expects additional store closings to be announced in the coming weeks. The company "intends to reduce its store footprint and focus resources on its strongest stores" as well as its website, the retailer said.
Retailers nationwide have been struggling to stay in business amid the coronavirus pandemic, which forced nonessential stores to be shut down temporarily.
“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, J.C. Penney's chief executive officer, said in a news release.
As part of its bankruptcy reorganization in May, J.C. 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 nationwide.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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