Post-Bankruptcy: JCPenney Business Today

Joel Eisenberg

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and permanently shuttered 154 stores in 2020.

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Author’s Note

This article is based on corporate postings and accredited media reports. Linked information within this article is attributed to the following outlets: Wikipedia.org, ScrapeHero.com, KRON4.com, and RetailDive.com.

Introduction

Wikipedia features a comprehensive overview of the venerable JCPenney chain, which was founded in 1902: Penney OpCo LLC, doing business as JCPenney and often abbreviated JCP, is a midscale American department store chain operating 669 stores across 49 U.S. states and Puerto Rico.Departments inside JCPenney stores include Mens, Womens, Boys, Girls, Baby, Bedding, Home, Fine Jewelry, Shoes, Lingerie, The Salon by InStyle, Sephora inside JCPenney, as well as such leased departments as Seattle's Best Coffee, US Vision optical centers, and Lifetouch portrait studios.

ScrapeHero.com, which lists the most up-to-date location counts of national retailers, further breaks down the numbers: There are 669 JCPenney locations in the United States as of June 27, 2022. The state with the most number of JCPenney locations in the US is Texas, with 73 locations, which is 10% of all JCPenney locations in America.

The previously-linked Wikipedia page touches upon the 2020 bankruptcy of the JCPenney chain, which largely was a repercussion of year-to-year declining sales and the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic: In May 2020, JCPenney filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and in September 2020, Brookfield Asset Management and Simon Property Group agreed to purchase the company for around $800 million in cash and debt. The deal was approved by the U.S. bankruptcy court for the Southern District of Texas two months later.

Has the company largely recovered from its bankruptcy? Are more stores scheduled to close aside from those previously announced.

Let us explore.

The State of JCPenney, 2022

According to KRON4.com, in its June, 2020 piece entitled “JCPenney Closing Several California Stores, 154 Total This Summer,” the entity’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization dictated the closures: JCPenney filed for bankruptcy on May 15. As part of its bankruptcy reorganization, Penney said it planned to permanently close nearly a third of its 846 stores in the next two years. That would leave it with just over 600 locations.

Though online rumors are widespread about JCPenny’s likely going out of business, in fact reportedly they are eyeing an expansion mode.

In May, RetailDive.com published “JCPenney is Reinventing Itself. Again.” The article was surprising to some, as word was — and is still — questionable regarding current company business: Also back is further change, however, at least if it’s true that J.C. Penney’s owners — Simon Property Group and Brookfield Asset Management — have bid nearly $9 billion for rival Kohl’s. The report remains unconfirmed. Simon, Brookfield and Kohl’s didn’t respond to questions about the deal, which was first reported by the New York Post. But the move could disrupt J.C. Penney’s plans, especially in light of the revelation that the Simon-Brookfield idea is for a single operating entity to run both retailers.

The report, it turns out, appears to be true as the story has been widely carried. No deal, as of yet, has been consummated.

Conclusion

Until the company itself discloses further location closures other than those already in process for 2022 based on prior plans, it is well-advised to take any word to the contrary as rumor.

Further, no formal announcement to date has reported the company is going out of business. Word is 2022 plans are the company’s most ambitious in years.

Thank you for reading.

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I am an award-winning author, screenwriter for film and television, and producer. My mission on News Break is to share socially important perspectives on both culture and pop-culture. Member of PEN America, and the WGA.

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