Two J.C. Penney stores in Mississippi to close

leave a comment »

J.C. Penney is cutting 2,000 jobs and closing 33 stores, the company said today.jcpenney_2013_logo

Two stores in Mississippi are among the casualties; they’re located in the Singing River Mall in Gautier and Natchez Mall in Natchez. They were among the stores the company said were underperforming and would be shuttered by May.

The store at The Mall at Barnes Crossing in Tupelo remains open.

From the Associated Press:

Struggling department-store operator J.C. Penney announced it will cut 2,000 jobs and close 33 stores as it tries to get back on the path to profitability. The news raises concerns that Penney’s holiday season sales were not what the company hoped for and that the chain needs to do even more to recover from a turnaround plan that has had disastrous results.

J.C. Penney Co., based in Plano, Texas, said earlier this month said it was pleased with its holiday results but declined to give sales figures, raising worries among Wall Street analysts about how the season actually fared.

The cuts announced Wednesday should save more than $65 million annually. The company will take $26 million in pretax charges in the third quarter and $17 million in future quarters. Penney has 116,000 staffers and operates more than 1,100 stores. All the job cuts are related to the store closings.

The holiday season is crucial since it can account for anywhere from 20 percent to 40 percent of a retailer’s annual sales. But at J.C. Penney, the stakes are higher.

Penney is trying to recover from massive losses and plummeting sales drops that occurred under former CEO Ron Johnson, who was ousted in April after being on the job for 17 months. The company then brought back former CEO Mike Ullman.

Penney has since reinstated the frequent sales events that Johnson ditched. It’s also restored basic merchandise, particularly store brands like St. John’s Bay, which were either phased out or eliminated in a bid to attract younger, more affluent shoppers.

Penney had been releasing monthly sales figures over the last few months, which had showed some improvement. Sales at stores open at least a year edged up 0.9 percent in October — the first increase since December 2011. That’s a key indicator of a retailer’s health. Last month, the company said that revenue at stores opened at least a year jumped 10.1 percent in November, helped by a strong start to the holiday season.

 

Written by Dennis Seid

January 15, 2014 at 6:17 pm