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JCP Sheds 1,000 Jobs in a Tough Week for Retail Workers

J. C. Penney is shedding 1,000 jobs and shuttering fewer than the 242 stores previously eyed for closure.

On Wednesday, the Texas-based retailer said it will trim 1,000 corporate, field management and international positions in an effort to slim down for its post-bankruptcy future. It’s also planning to close 152 stores and engaging in “ongoing productive negotiations with landlords.”

There’s no word yet on whether the business plan Penney’s submitted to first-lien lenders has been approved or calls for further brick-and-mortar closures. Last week, Penney’s sought an extension of the July 14 deadline to win lender approval of its operational plan. The company’s restructuring aims to reduce 70 percent of its debt.

“These decisions are always extremely difficult, and I would like to thank these associates for their hard work and dedication,” said CEO Jill Soltau, who noted Penney’s commitment to supporting employees through their transition out of the company.

Penney’s will provide departing associates with a comprehensive benefits package including severance for those who qualify, healthcare coverage for those enrolled through COBRA, outplacement support, compensation for unused paid time off and extended associate discount benefits.

“As the retail landscape continues to evolve, we will continue to make thoughtful and strategic choices to offer compelling merchandise, drive traffic, deliver an engaging experience, fuel growth, and build a results-minded culture to ensure that JCPenney remains at the heart of America’s communities for decades to come,” Soltau said.

Retail has had a tough week. Earlier Wednesday, Burberry announced 500 job cuts while PVH reported plans to lay off 12 percent of its staff, affecting about 450 workers. Meanwhile, REI is permanently laying off about 400 workers who were furloughed at the onset of the pandemic and have yet to be recalled, a spokesperson confirmed Wednesday.