JCPenney said on Wednesday it would cut about 1,000 jobs and shutter 152 stores as the department store chain looks to emerge from Chapter 11 protection and the COVID-19 crisis.
The layoffs would affect corporate, field management, and international roles and eligible departing employees would receive a severance package. The company is also in talks with its landlords regarding store closures.
Founded by James Cash Penney at the turn of the century in Wyoming, JCPenney has cycled through countless bets that it would fall under economic stress. In the 1990s, JCPenney dominated retail with a massive catalog designed for shoppers looking for affordable styles. It was one of the first companies to start selling online. But with the rise of online shopping, the company had difficulty finding its identity as competition increased.
JCPenney, which operated 850 stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico prior to the bankruptcy, entered the pandemic with falling sales and a $3.7 billion debt load. Its annual sales have plunged in recent years and its revenue has dropped more than 40 percent since 2007.
Penney filed for bankruptcy protection in May, with plans to explore a possible sale, joining a spate of brick-and-mortar retailers to crumble under the pressure brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Tuesday, Calvin Klein owner PVH Corp. also announced a reduction in the number of office employees.