Photo by Darla Golden
North Platte’s JC Penney store in the Platte River Mall will close this summer, the company announced Friday.The store is at the center of the mall, just off the main lobby where special attractions are held, such as Santa Claus visits with children during the Christmas season.
Under the company’s plan, 138 stores nationally will be closed, including two others in Nebraska – one in downtown McCook and another in the Fremont Mall.
The company currently operates more than 1,000 stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
Most of the stores on the closure list will begin liquidating in mid-April and doors will close in June, the company said.
Platte River Mall officials declined to comment Friday afternoon on the situation.
The closures are the result of increases in online shopping, the annoucement said.
“We believe closing stores will also allow us to adjust our business to effectively compete against the growing threat of online retailers,” the company said.
Nationwide, about 5,000 jobs will be impacted. However, at the same time, early retirement benefits are being offered to nearly 6,000 employees, so more employees are expected to be hired after that all shakes out.
JC Penney said it is also identifying relocation opportunities within the company for top employees, and will provide outplacement support services for eligible employees who will be leaving the company, such as identifying other job opportunities, resume writing and interview preparation.
The company will save an estimated $200 million in operational costs when the 138 stores close. The total closures currently represent approximately 13-14 % of the company’s "store portfolio" and less than 5% of total annual sales, the announcement said.
JC Penney said it is in a good position to navigate the changing times and believes its large base of retail stores is an advantage in "the evolving retail landscape."
“Our physical stores are a destination for personalized beauty offerings, a broad array of special sizes, affordable private brands and quality home goods and services,” the company said. Retail stores also fulfill online orders with same-day pick up, exchanges and returns, the company said.
In fact, in 2016 approximately 75% of all online orders touched a physical store, according to the annoucement.
JC Penney will also close a distribution facility in Florida and relocate a distribution center in California.