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JC Penney at Nittany Mall to Remain Open as Company Closes 33 Stores

by on January 16, 2014 1:53 PM

The JC Penney store located in the Nittany Mall escapes the cost-cutting axe as the corporation looks to increase profitability.

In a statement released Wednesday, JC Penney says it's closing 33 underperforming stores across the country and laying off 2,000 employees in an effort to cut costs and focus on more profitable growth opportunities.

However, the JC Penny store at the Nittany Mall will not be closed, and will continue to operate on a regular schedule.

Three stores will be closed in Pennsylvania as a result of the announcement. Store locations in Exton Square Mall (Exton, PA), Laurel Mall (Hazleton, PA), and Washington Mall (Washington, PA) will be shut down, and remaining inventory will be sold in the next several months with final closings expected to be complete by early May.

"We continually evaluate our store portfolio to determine whether there's a need to close or relocate underperforming stores," said Joey Thomas, head of Media Relations and Corporate Affairs at JC Penney, in an email. "Reviews such as these are essential in meeting our long-term goals for future company growth. While it's never an easy decision to close stores, especially due to the impact on our valued associates and customers, we feel this is a necessary business decision.

"Although we continually review our store base, there are currently no plans to close other locations."

The company says it expects the store closings to result in an annual cost savings of $65 million beginning in 2014, including $26 million in the fourth quarter of the 2013 fiscal year ending this January.

JC Penney is one of four anchor stores at the Nittany Mall. The others are Bon Ton, Macy's and Sears.

Several stores have either left or are in the process of leaving the mall, including Gardners Candies, Kranich's Jewelers, Gap and Gap Kids, Aeropostale, Kitchen Collection and CVS. Many of those retailers have moved to stand-alone or plaza-style locations.

Nittany Mall General Manager Lou Kanzleiter said recently that the closings are part of the regular business cycle and are common occurrence in the retail industry.

C.J. Doon is a frequent contributor to Onward State and is a former intern. A Long Island native, Doon is studying print journalism at Penn State.
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