PLANO, Texas (June 4, 2020) – J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (OTCMKTS: JCPNQ) today announced that it has taken the first step in implementing its store optimization strategy. Following a comprehensive evaluation of its retail footprint and a careful analysis of store performance and future strategic fit for the Company, JCPenney identified the first phase of 154 store closures. Following entry of an order at the June 11, 2020, hearing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, in Corpus Christi, Texas, store closing sales will begin at 154 locations.
The Company expects additional phases of store closing sales will begin in the coming weeks. As the Company remains focused on its Plan for Renewal and driving sustainable, profitable growth, it intends to reduce its store footprint and focus resources on its strongest stores and powerful eCommerce flagship store, jcp.com. Store closing sales for the first round of store closures are expected to take 10-16 weeks to complete.
“While closing stores is always an extremely difficult decision, our store optimization strategy is vital to ensuring we emerge from both Chapter 11 and the COVID-19 pandemic as a stronger retailer with greater financial flexibility to allow us to continue serving our loyal customers for decades to come,” said Jill Soltau, chief executive officer of JCPenney. “I am incredibly grateful to our talented associates for their ongoing dedication and their passion for meeting and exceeding our customers’ expectations during this difficult and uncertain time. All impacted associates will be treated with the utmost consideration and respect.”
Ms. Soltau continued, “We will remain one of the nation’s largest apparel and home retailers as we continue to operate a majority of our stores and our flagship store, jcp.com, to ensure our valued customers continue to have access to the products and brands they need and want. As of June 4, 2020, we have reopened nearly 500 stores since government officials have eased COVID-19 restrictions and we look forward to opening more. We are excited to welcome back our customers and associates at these locations, and we will continue to take actions to be best positioned to build on our over 100-year history.”
The list of 154 stores that will begin closing sales can be found on the JCPenney Blog. JCPenney continues to monitor CDC guidelines, as well as state and local mandates, to inform its practices, taking extra precautions and going above and beyond those recommendations to ensure the safety of its associates and customers.
As previously announced on May 15, 2020, JCPenney entered into a restructuring support agreement with lenders holding approximately 70 percent of JCPenney’s first lien debt to reduce the Company’s outstanding indebtedness and strengthen its financial position. To implement the financial restructuring plan, the Company filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
Additional information regarding JCPenney’s financial restructuring is available at www.jcprestructuring.com. Court filings and information about the claims process are available at http://cases.primeclerk.com/JCPenney, by calling the Company’s claims agent, Prime Clerk, toll-free at 877-720-6576 or sending an email to JCPenneyinfo@primeclerk.com.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP is serving as legal adviser, Lazard is serving as financial adviser, and AlixPartners LLP is serving as restructuring adviser to the Company.
The Company has included statements in this communication that may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “expect” and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements, which include, but are not limited to, statements regarding sales, cost of goods sold, selling, general and administrative expenses, earnings, cash flows and liquidity. Forward-looking statements are based only on the Company’s current assumptions and views of future events and financial performance. They are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties, many of which are outside of the Company’s control that may cause the Company’s actual results to be materially different from planned or expected results. Those risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, risks attendant to the bankruptcy process, including the Company’s ability to obtain court approval from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas (the “Bankruptcy Court”) with respect to motions or other requests made to the Bankruptcy Court throughout the course of the Company and its subsidiaries’ Chapter 11 cases (the “Chapter 11 Cases”), including with respect to any proposed debtor-in-possession financing; the ability of the Company to negotiate, develop, confirm and consummate a plan of reorganization; the effects of the Chapter 11 Cases, including increased legal and other professional costs necessary to execute the Company’s reorganization, on the Company’s liquidity (including the availability of operating capital during the pendency of the Chapter 11 Cases), results of operations or business prospects; the effects of the Chapter 11 Cases on the interests of various constituents; the length of time that the Company will operate under Chapter 11 protection; risks associated with third-party motions in the Chapter 11 Cases; Bankruptcy Court rulings in the Chapter 11 Cases and the outcome of the Chapter 11 Cases in general; conditions to which any debtor-in-possession financing is subject and the risk that these conditions may not be satisfied for various reasons, including for reasons outside the Company’s control; general economic conditions, including inflation, recession, unemployment levels, consumer confidence and spending patterns, credit availability and debt levels; changes in store traffic trends; the cost of goods; more stringent or costly payment terms and/or the decision by a significant number of vendors not to sell the Company merchandise on a timely basis or at all; trade restrictions; the ability to monetize non-core assets on acceptable terms; the ability to implement the Company’s strategic plan, including its omnichannel initiatives; customer acceptance of the Company’s strategies; the Company’s ability to attract, motivate and retain key executives and other associates; the impact of cost reduction initiatives; the Company’s ability to generate or maintain liquidity; implementation of new systems and platforms; changes in tariff, freight and shipping rates; changes in the cost of fuel and other energy and transportation costs; disruptions and congestion at ports through which the Company imports goods; increases in wage and benefit costs; competition and retail industry consolidations; interest rate fluctuations; dollar and other currency valuations; the impact of weather conditions; risks associated with war, an act of terrorism or pandemic; the ability of the federal government to fund and conduct its operations; a systems failure and/or security breach that results in the theft, transfer or unauthorized disclosure of customer, employee or Company information; legal and regulatory proceedings; the Company’s ability to access the debt or equity markets on favorable terms or at all; and the impact of natural disasters, public health crises or other catastrophic events on the Company’s financial results, in particular as the Company manages its business through the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting restrictions and uncertainties in the general economic and business environment. Please refer to the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended February 2, 2020, and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q filed subsequently thereto, for a further discussion of risks and uncertainties. There can be no assurances that the Company will achieve expected results, and actual results may be materially less than expectations. Investors should take such risks into account and should not rely on forward-looking statements when making investment decisions. Any forward-looking statement made by the Company in this communication is based only on information currently available to it and speaks only as of the date on which such statement is made. The Company does not undertake to update these forward-looking statements as of any future date.
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J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (OTCMKTS: JCPNQ), one of the nation’s largest apparel and home retailers, combines an expansive footprint of approximately 850 stores across the United States and Puerto Rico with a powerful e-commerce site, jcp.com, to deliver style and value for all hard-working American families. At every touchpoint, customers will discover stylish merchandise at incredible value from an extensive portfolio of private, exclusive and national brands. Reinforcing this shopping experience is the customer service and warrior spirit of nearly 85,000 associates across the globe, all driving toward the Company's mission to help customers find what they love for less time, money and effort. For additional information, please visit jcp.com.