Big Box Retailers Struggle Through Pandemic; JC Penney to Close 150 Stores

Local J.C. Penney general manager said since malls closed, many customers assume anchor stores are closed, too

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Some big-box retailers are struggling through the pandemic. Dozens have filed for bankruptcy since March, including J.C. Penney.

Representatives for the century-old department store released a statement explaining 152 J.C. Penney stores will close. At least 1,000 employees; corporate, field management, and international positions will be let go.

The statement, released July 15, said the changes will create a “smaller, more financially flexible company, and will ensure JCPenney emerges from both Chapter 11 and the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as an even stronger retailer”.

J.C. Penney general manager, Brian Henderson, from the Parkway Plaza El Cajon location, told NBC 7 fewer customers have been visiting the location since malls were ordered to close for a second time since the stay-at-home order.

“There’s a little bit of a confusion where the malls in Southern California are closed, but the anchor stores, like J.C. Penney is open," Henderson said. "A lot of our customers are confused because they hear that malls are closed, so they assume our store is closed too."

Since J.C. Penney is an anchor store and has entrances and exits outside, it can continue to operate.

“We just want everyone to know we’re here for them. We’re adhering to all safety protocols. We also have curbside pick-up, which is contactless," Henderson continued. "They can order online, just pull up, call the number and we’ll bring their package out to them to the curb."

NBC 7 reached out to J.C. Penney representatives to find out if any San Diego county stores will close, but we have not received a response.  

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