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JC Penney in Nittany Mall Closing in April

by on January 08, 2015 12:50 PM

JC Penney commercials often claim that when it fits, you feel it -- but State College customers don't have long to try the store on for size.

A manager with the JC Penney store at the Nittany Mall confirms they will close in April.

It's not clear how many employees will lose their jobs.

Polly Welch, the mall's general manager, says the store's contract was expired and up for renewal. As of Thursday morning, the corporate office of the national chain opted not to renew the contract and close the location.

"It's a decision made on the national level. They need to close several stores, and ours happens to be one," Welch says. "It's unfortunate. We never want to see any of our stores close."

JC Penney media relations manager Kate Coultas says in an email that the Texas-based chain will be closing approximately 40 stores across the country. Three other stores in Pennsylvania will close, including stores in the towns of Chambersburg, Media and Hummels Wharf.

Coultas says most locations will close on or around April 4, but Welch says the Nittany Mall location will close closer to the end of the month.

"While it's never an easy decision to close stores, especially due to the impact on our valued associates and customers, this was made after a careful analysis of store performance and future strategic fit for the Company," Coultas says.

Coultas says her company is sensitive to the troubles that these closings will cause for JC Penney employees, so every current employee in a closing store will be offered an on-site career training class on how to write resumes and successfully navigate job interviews. 

Welch says she's sad to see one of the mall's anchor stores go, but adds that she doesn't expect the space to be empty for long. She's already in talks with several other chains who have expressed interest in the "prime, very prominent location." Though these negotiations have only just begun, Welch hopes to make an official announcement within the next couple months.

"Honestly, the vision that we have for the mall is very bright," Welch says. "As sad as it is that an anchor store is leaving, there's a lot of promising things in the works for the mall."

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Michael Martin Garrett is a reporter and editor for StateCollege.com who covers local government, the courts, the arts and writes the Keeping the Faith column. He's a Penn State alumnus, a published poet and the bassist in a local indie rock band.
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