J.C. Penney is closing 130-140 stores – and soon

There are 25 J.C. Penney Stores in Minnesota.
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More than 100 J.C. Penney stores and two distribution facilities will close this year as part of a plan to cut costs and help the company make more money.

J.C. Penney announced Friday morning 130-140 stores in the U.S. will shut down during the second quarter of 2017 (so April-June sometime). Which stores? They won't say right now, but plan to release the full list in mid-March.

J.C. Penney has more than 1,000 stores across the country right now, including 25 spread all across Minnesota.

Why they're closing

The locations being closed are either barely making any money, or will need a lot of investment to bring them up to the "new brand standard" of J.C. Penney. The stores make up less than 5 percent of J.C. Penney's annual sales, the company says.

"I have a deep appreciation and respect for our associates who are on the front lines working tirelessly to serve our customers every day. Closing a store is never an easy decision, especially given the local impact on valued employees and our most loyal shoppers," CEO Marvin R. Ellison said in a statement.

The company will also be implementing a voluntary early retirement program, which about 6,000 employees could take advantage of. The company says they expect many of the job losses to come from those retirements, rather than full-time workers losing their jobs.

J.C. Penney actually made a net profit last year, the first time doing so since 2010. But Ellison said in the announcement they want to be "aggressive" in taking action to set the company up for sustainable growth. He also said that 2016 saw "significantly higher sales" in beauty, home refresh and special sizes.

The company also touted success online, saying there's been double-digit growth on jcpenney.com, and noting the company can keep its costs down compared to online-only retailers because they can use brick-and-mortar J.C. Penney stores in the final stages of the shipping process. The company said nearly 75 percent of all online orders touched a retail store.

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