J.C. Penney closing more stores including West Plains location

J.C. Penney will shutter more stores in the spring after already closing 150-plus stores since filing for bankruptcy. The latest list includes the West Plains location in the Southern Hills Center.

The retailer, which emerged from bankruptcy this month after being acquired by mall owners Simon Property Group and Brookfield Asset Management, Inc., will close another 15 stores by the end of March, officials confirmed to USA TODAY Thursday.

“As part of our store optimization strategy that began in June with our financial restructuring, we have made the decision to close an additional 15 stores,” J.C. Penney says in a statement to USA TODAY. “These stores will begin liquidation sales later this month and will close to the public in mid to late March.”

The department store chain was one of the the largest retailers to file for bankruptcy protection during the coronavirus pandemic. J.C. Penney filed for Chapter 11 in mid-May 2020 after years of sales declines and two months of disruption from the pandemic. It originally said it planned to close about 29% of its 846 stores or 242 locations in bankruptcy.

“While store closure decisions are never easy, our store optimization strategy is intended to better position JCPenney to drive sustainable, profitable growth and included plans to close up to 200 stores in phases throughout 2020,” the company says in its statement.

Liquidation sales have been handled differently during COVID-19 with fewer shoppers allowed into stores based on state and local regulations.

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