J.C. Penney to close up to 140 stores, cut 6,000 jobs

J.C. Penney plans to close up to 140 stores and offer buyouts to 6,000 workers as the department-store industry sags in competition with online sellers and nimble niche retailers.

The company said Friday that it would shutter 13% to 14% of its stores, representing about 5% of its annual sales, and two distribution centers. 

The company did not immediately say if any stores in  Oregon and Washington state would close. A specific list will be released in mid-March.

The retailer expects to save $200 million in annual costs in connection with the plan but will record an initial pre-tax charge of $225 million to cover the closure costs.

In a related move, Penney said it would offer a "voluntary early retirement program" to about 6,000 workers, including corporate, store and supply chain workers.

The cuts come amid mounting challenges for once-stalwart department-store chains such as Macy's and Sears, which are aggressively closing stores and shedding costs as shoppers flock to alternatives.

"We believe closing stores will also allow us to adjust our business to effectively compete against the growing threat of online retailers," CEO Marvin Ellison said in a statement.

"Maintaining a large store base gives us a competitive advantage in the evolving retail landscape since our physical stores are a destination for personalized beauty offerings, a broad array of special sizes, affordable private brands and quality home goods and services."

KING 5's Travis Pittman contributed to this report.

Copyright 2017 KING


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