J.C. Penney files for bankruptcy


Staff reports



PIQUA — Department store chain J.C. Penney recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and while the fate of a local location of the store at the Miami Valley Centre Mall is currently unknown, closings of a number of J.C. Penney stores are expected.

As part of its reorganization, the 118-year-old company said late Friday it will be shuttering some stores. It said the stores will close in phases throughout the Chapter 11 process and details of the first phase will be disclosed in the coming weeks. According to reports in USA Today, J.C. Penney expects to close more than a fourth of its stores. According to a document filed with the Securities and Exchanges Commission on Monday, approximately 29 percent of it’s 846 stores, or 242 locations, will close.

“The coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for our families, our loved ones, our communities, and our country,” said Penney’s CEO Jill Soltau in a statement. “As a result, the American retail industry has experienced a profoundly different new reality, requiring J.C. Penney to make difficult decisions in running our business to protect the safety of our associates and customers and the future of our company.”

Penney said that it has $500 million in cash on hand and has received commitments of $900 million in financing to help it operate during the restructuring. It said that it will be looking at different options, including the sale of the company. The restructuring should reduce several billion dollars of its debt and provide more flexibility to navigate the financial fallout from the pandemic, Penney said.

The company’s roots began in 1902 when James Cash Penney started a dry good store in Kemmerer, Wyoming. The retailer had focused its stores in downtown areas but expanded into suburban shopping malls as they became more popular starting in the 1960s. With that expansion, Penney added appliances, hair salons and portrait studios.

J.C. Penney has been in operation in Piqua since 1922, and the retail store was one of the original anchor stores of the Miami Valley Centre Mall, having moved from a downtown location. J.C. Penney is currently one of two anchor stores at the Miami Valley Centre Mall, including Dunham’s Sports. The other two previous anchor stores of the four anchor spots at the mall, Elder-Beerman and Sears, closed in August 2018 and February 2019, respectively.

The Miami Valley Centre Mall also changed ownership last year. Kohan Retail Investment Group (KRIG), under the name Miami Valley Mall Realty Holding, LLC, purchased the mall in November for $3,234,000.

Requests for comment from the Miami Valley Centre Mall and J.C. Penney were not returned as of press time.

Staff reports

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.