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J.C. Penney Cuts 1,000 Staffers and Will Close 152 Stores

J.C. Penney, the storied department store chain that in May filed to reorganize under the bankruptcy laws, said it was cutting 1,000 workers and closing 152 stores.

“JCPenney has identified 152 store closures following a comprehensive evaluation of store performance and strategic fit for the company and is having ongoing productive negotiations with landlords,” the Plano, Texas, chain said in a statement.

J.C. Penney had said it planned to shutter 250 of its remaining 846 stores by the end of summer 2021.

“In connection with this organizational realignment, the company will reduce its workforce by approximately 1,000 corporate, field management, and international position,” the company said.

“This organizational restructuring will create a smaller, more financially flexible company, and will help ensure JCPenney emerges from both Chapter 11 and the coronavirus pandemic as an even stronger retailer.”

Last month, Bloomberg reported that mall owners Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners were negotiating to purchase J.C. Penney.

Authentic Brands, which owns more than 50 consumer brands, might join the two real estate companies in their bid, knowledgeable sources told Bloomberg.

Simon is the biggest mall owner in the country, and Brookfield, a unit of Brookfield Asset Management is No. 2. J.C. Penney is an important tenant in numerous malls they own.

Authentic joined with Simon and Brookfield earlier this year to purchase teen clothing chain Forever 21 out of bankruptcy.

The brick-and-mortar retail industry broadly has been swamped by consumers’ move to online shopping and, more recently, the coronavirus pandemic, which has kept shoppers at home and out of the malls.

J.C. Penney shares recently traded at 30 cents, up 13%.