JC Penney to close at least 130 stores

J.C. Penney store is viewed at the Gateway Center Mall in Brooklyn

J.C. Penney store is viewed at the Gateway Center Mall in Brooklyn

Although the company is closing a larger number of locations this year than it has in the past, JC Penney "continues to recognize the importance of physical stores in an ever-evolving retail landscape", she said.

Marvin Ellison, J.C. Penney's chairman and chief executive officer, said, "We are pleased that in the face of a very challenging 2016 retail environment we delivered our first positive net income since 2010". The company said they planned to release the list in mid-March.

The list of stores that are targeted for closure is expected to be announced next month.

Because the company "understands that closing stores will impact the lives of many hard working associates", it says it will launch a voluntary early retirement program for about 6,000 employees.

That represents about 13 to 14 percent of its current 1,014-store portfolio.

Ellison said more than 77% of all online orders cycled through one of J.C. Penney's stores in some way in 2016, while more than 90% of the retailer's returns are processed through its stores.

The company also reported earnings that topped Wall Street's expectations, though its comparable sales fell 0.7 percent during the holiday quarter - the third period out of four during the past fiscal year to see slower business. The company says that the voluntary retirement program will be available to employees that were of a certain age as of January 31, 2017. Because of that program, Ellison expects the company to face a net increase in hiring across the remaining stores.

J.C. Penney is joining its department store rivals in pruning its store numbers in an era of online shopping.

JCPenney announced that it will close up to 140 stores in the coming months, along with two distribution centers.

The news came as J.C. Penney posted a profit in the fourth-quarter compared to a loss a year ago.

The company said the closing would save it about $200 million and allow it to better compete online. Other J.C. Penney locations are in the Westmoreland Mall, the Century III Mall, the Monroeville Mall and Robinson Town Center. According to Mr. Ellison, almost 75 percent of the company's all online orders touched a physical store.

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