J.C. Penney Closing Stores After Filing For Bankruptcy

The retailer will permanently close 242 stores and has received commitments of $900 million in financing to help keep it afloat.
Posted at 6:30 PM, May 19, 2020

Retailer J.C. Penney is closing about a fourth of its stores in an effort to restructure its finances amid the coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday the company announced it will be permanently closing 242 of its 846 stores days after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections. 

J.C. Penney has struggled with weak sales and heavy competition over the years. Although it's managed to stay afloat, profits in February were down 64% and it has more than $4 billion in debt. 

It currently has $500 million in cash on hand and it's already received commitments of $900 million in financing to help keep the business running for now.

In a regulatory filing, the retailer said it's looking at options – including selling the company altogether. Amazon is reportedly interesting in buying the retailer. If J.C. Penney decides to restructure its finances, that should reduce its debt by billions of dollars and allow it to navigate the financial fallout from the pandemic. 

CEO Jill Soltau said, due to unprecedented challenges from the global COVID-19 outbreak, "the American retail industry has experienced a profoundly different new reality, requiring J.C. Penney to make difficult decisions in running our business to protect the safety of our associates and customers and the future of our company."

J.C. Penney is the largest retailer to file for bankruptcy amid store closures and furloughs among others such as Neiman Marcus and J.Crew

Additional Reporting by Anne D'Innocenzio and Joseph Pisani of The Associated Press.