J.C. Penney on Friday listed 138 stores it plans to close across the U.S., including nine in Texas, but none in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
The Texas stores that will close are in mostly smaller markets: Athens, Borger, Early, El Paso, Marshall, McAllen, Nacogdoches, Seguin and Stephenville. With its remaining 876 stores, Penney will still have at least one location in 49 states and Puerto Rico. It has no stores in Hawaii.
Plano-based Penney said last month that it would be closing about 13 percent of its stores, which were unprofitable and generated only a combined 5 percent of sales. The stores are expected to close in the second quarter, which ends in July for Penney. Most liquidation sales will begin April 17, the company said.
Texas has the most store closings, followed by eight in Minnesota and seven each in Michigan and Pennsylvania. Other states with at least three each include Illinois, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Oklahoma.
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Most in this batch are either in the range of 47,000 to 70,000 square feet or even smaller at 10,000 to 30,000 square feet.
In Marshall, about 150 miles east of Dallas and only about 45 minutes from Shreveport, people like to shop locally, said Mayor Eric Neal. Marshall Mall has one other department store anchor, a Stage Store.
“I just found out Penney’s is closing,” Neal said. “It’s been a fixture at the mall and we hate to see them go. We’re a small town with a limited population and a limited attraction to the big box retailers.”
But it was “very convenient” to have Penney in the market, he said, noting he was just there last week to buy his son some new school uniforms. “I guess now we’ll go to Shreveport or Longview. But we hope they would stay.”
The Penney closings will shift resources to more profitable stores. Penney has been investing in its e-commerce business and Ellison is a strong believer that stores are a key part of the whole shopping scene going forward. Last year, about 75 percent of all online orders touched a physical store, he said.
But the stores closing, Ellison said, needed significant capital to reach the company’s new brand standards and didn’t have the sales performance to justify the expense.