J.C. Penney to cut 2,000 jobs, close 33 stores

Struggling department-store operator J.C. Penney announced it will cut 2,000 jobs and close 33 stores as it tries to get back on the path to profitability.
By ANNE D'INNOCENZIO AND MAE ANDERSON Published: January 16, 2014
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Retail update

Tough holiday season spurs

job, store cuts at J.C. Penney

J.C. Penney announced it will cut 2,000 jobs and close 33 stores as it tries to get back on the path to profitability.

The news raises concerns that Penney's holiday sales were not what the department-store company hoped for and the chain needs to do more to recover from a disastrous turnaround plan.

J.C. Penney Co., based in Plano, Texas, earlier this month said it was pleased with its holiday results but declined to give sales figures, raising worries among Wall Street analysts about how the season actually fared.

The cuts announced Wednesday should save more than $65 million annually. The company will take $26 million in pretax charges in the third quarter and $17 million in future quarters. Penney has 116,000 staffers and more than 1,100 stores. All the job cuts are related to store closings.

Penney is among a number of stores expected to be announcing staff cuts and store closures in the next few weeks. After the holiday season, stores typically re-evaluate their store fleet and announce job cuts and store closings. But analysts believe that after a tough holiday season where stores had to discount early and often to get shoppers to buy, the cuts will be deeper than normal, says John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a global outplacement firm. Stores are also contending with a shift in consumer spending to PCs and mobile devices.

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