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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Feb. 28, 201912:52 PM EST

J.C. Penney to close in St. Augustine

The retailer said it will close 18 full-line stores this year amid falling sales.

Retailer J.C. Penney Co. Inc. will close its St. Augustine department store in the Ponce de Leon Mall effective July 5, the company announced today. It is among the 18 department stores the company said it will shutter by midyear.

The company said about 40 people work at the location.

It said eligible associates who do not transfer to another store will receive separation benefits and all impacted associates may participate in a free three-hour on-site career training class, which offers tips on resume writing, answering interview questions and more.

“This decision is the result of an ongoing review of our store portfolio, which includes assessing locations that may not meet our required financial targets or represent an opportunity to capitalize on a beneficial real estate asset,” the company said in a statement.

“It’s never easy taking actions that directly impact our valued associates and customers, however we feel this is a necessary business decision.”

J.C. Penney also operates stores in The Avenues mall, Regency Square Mall and Orange Park Mall. Those are not affected.

Plano, Texas-based J.C. Penney announced today that it would close the 18 full-line stores  as well as nine ancillary home and furniture stores, “further aligning the Company’s brick-and-mortar presence with its omnichannel network, and enabling capital resources to be reallocated to locations and initiatives that offer the greatest long-term value potential.”

The company did not disclose the full list of closings but responded to specific questions about areas.

The announcement came as the company reported a net loss of $255 million for the fiscal 2018 year that ended Feb. 2. Net sales fell 7.1 percent to  $11.66 billion.

The net loss for fiscal 2017 was $118 million.

The 117-year-old J.C. Penney operates more than 860 stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

CEO Jill Soltau said in a news release that the company was eliminating some categories and better managing inventory.

It previously said it would stop selling major appliances and also will sell furniture online rather than in stores.

“While we are pleased with these actions, we know we need to move faster to reestablish the fundamentals of retail, build capabilities focused on satisfying our customers’ wants and needs and ensure that our digital and store operations operate seamlessly to provide an experience that wins with customers,” she said in a statement.

“We have much work to do to position J.C. Penney for success and create long-term value for our shareholders, however our unwavering focus and discipline is already enabling meaningful progress,” she said.


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