Plano, Tx (WWSB) - J.C. Penney announced Friday that it will be closing anywhere from 130 to 140 stores as well as two distribution centers over the next several months.
Its part of a plan to improve profitability as online shopping increases.
The closures represent about 13 percent to 14 percent of the department store operator's current store count, and less than 5 percent of total annual sales. The company said that it would also initiate a voluntary early retirement program for about 6,000 eligible employees.
The news came as the retail chain posted a profit in the fourth-quarter compared to a loss a year ago. But total sales were down slightly, and a key revenue metric declined slightly as well.
The company is aiming to be more competitive in the digital arena. Penney is arming its store associates with mobile devices to help check out online shoppers who are picking up orders in the store.
A full list of store closures will be released in March. The suncoast currently has 4 J.C.Penney stores throughout Bradenton, Sarasota and Charlotte County.