What's In Store

J.C. Penney to close two Charlotte-area stores

FILE - In this Aug. 16, 2005 file photo, customers walk out of a J.C. Penny department store in Dallas.
FILE - In this Aug. 16, 2005 file photo, customers walk out of a J.C. Penny department store in Dallas. ASSOCIATED PRESS

J.C. Penney will close two Charlotte-area stores as part of a previously announced plan to help cut costs.

The company is closing its department stores at Eastridge Mall in Gastonia, and at the Monroe Crossing shopping center in Monroe in June, according to a statement Friday. Elsewhere in North Carolina, J.C. Penney is closing its stores in Albemarle, Boone, Hendersonville and Roanoke Rapids.

The retail chain is closing a total of 138 stores nationwide, as well as two distribution centers, resulting in the loss of approximately 5,000 jobs.

The company said it will begin the process of liquidating stores April 17. It will also provide outplacement services to the employees affected by the closures.

The closure of the J.C. Penney at Eastridge Mall leaves the shopping center with just two anchors, Belk and Dillard’s. Sears closed at Eastridge in late 2014, one of about 100 stores the struggling retailer said it was closing at the time. The mall has not yet found a new permanent tenant for the old Sears space.

J.C. Penney said last month that it is shrinking its store footprint and will, like other traditional retailers, focus on e-commerce as a way to improve its overall profitability. J.C. Penney said the store closures represent about 13-14 percent of its store portfolio, or less than 5 percent of total annual sales.

J.C. Penney isn’t the only department store to close stores recently to focus more on online sales.

After its sale to a private equity firm in 2015, Charlotte-based Belk, for example, has been quietly closing underperforming stores and expanding profitable ones. Macy’s also said in August it was selling 100 underperforming stores nationwide, including the one at Carolina Place.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta