J.C. Penney said Friday it will close between 130-140 department stores nationwide, as well as two distribution centers, over the next several months in an effort to improve profitability.
It’s unclear for now which locations will close – the retailer said in a statement that it will release a full list of the stores in mid-March, after it has notified affected employees. J.C. Penney operates two stores in the Charlotte area – at Carolina Place Mall and in Matthews.
The store closures represent about 13-14 percent of J.C. Penney’s store portfolio, or less than 5 percent of total annual sales.
“We believe closing stores will also allow us to adjust our business to effectively compete against the growing threat of online retailers,” J.C. Penney CEO Marvin Ellison said.
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The news came as J.C. Penney posted a profit in the fourth-quarter compared to a loss a year ago. The company posted quarterly sales of $3.96 billion, down 0.9 percent from $3.99 billion a year ago. Revenue at stores opened at least a year – a key industry metric – was down 0.7 percent.
Other department stores have similarly been shrinking their brick-and-mortar footprint as they face headwinds from online shopping and shifting consumer spending habits.
Charlotte-based Belk, for example, was sold to a private equity firm in late 2015 and has been quietly closing underperforming stores and expanding profitable ones. Macy’s announced in August it was selling 100 underperforming stores nationwide, including the one at Carolina Place, and boosting its online investments. The Associated Press contributed.