JCPenny to close 140 stores, offers early retirement buyouts

The J. C. Penney Company announced Friday that it will close up to 140 of its stores, and will offer retirement buyouts to thousands of employees.

According to the company’s website, J.C. Penny is “implementing a plan to optimize its national retail operations.”

The plan requires the store closures to happen within the next few months, along with  two distribution facilities.

“We believe closing stores will also allow us to adjust our business to effectively compete against the growing threat of online retailers,” Marvin R. Ellison, chairman and chief executive officer of J.C. Penney, said.

Ellison said bout 6,000 employees will be offered a voluntary early retirement program. Those being laid off will receive “separation benefits,”which includes help finding another job.

The closures will save the company $200 million in annual costs. However, the plan altogether will cost $225 million, according to the J. C. Penny website.

The locations of the stores that will close have not yet been announced.