J.C. Penney to close five Indiana department stores

The Indianapolis area has survived another round of store closures by J.C. Penney Co., but the rest of the state didn’t escape unscathed.

The department store chain announced Feb. 24 that it planned to close 130 to 140 underperforming stores, or about 14 percent of its locations. On Friday, the retailer unveiled a list of 138 stores that were on the chopping block.

The closure list includes stores in five Indiana communities—Columbus, Connersville, Huntington, Jasper and Logansport—but none in the Indianapolis area.

The retailer has five area stores, including two in Indianapolis: at Castleton Square mall and at 8752 Michigan Road. It also has local stores at Greenwood Park Mall, the Shops at Perry Crossing in Plainfield and Hamilton Towne Center in Noblesville.

The company said stores will begin liquidating merchandise next month and most of the closures will occur in June. It expects the closures will affect about 5,000 positions nationwide, adding that it is trying to identify relocation opportunities.

The company previously said it would also initiate a voluntary early-retirement program for about 6,000 eligible employees.
The closures represent less than 5 percent of company’s total annual sales.

Plano, Texas-based Penney is trying to recover from a catastrophic reinvention plan under former CEO Ron Johnson that sent sales and profits into a freefall in 2012 and 2013.

Business stabilized under Mike Ullman, who took the helm in 2013 after Johnson was pushed out. Under Marvin Ellison, who has been CEO since 2015, Penney is looking for new ways to increase sales while playing catch up in e-commerce.

Like other department stores, J.C. Penney is trying to adjust to changing shopping patterns, and is joining other department stores like Macy's, which are shrinking their store footprint.

Consumers are shifting their spending away from clothing and toward experiences like beauty treatments or toward furnishing their home. And when they do pick up clothing, it's more often at off-price stores or online as Amazon moves more into apparel.  

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