J.C. Penney closing doors

Retailer J.C. Penney announced Monday it will be permanently closing its Owosso location, shown here, as part of the company’s bankruptcy restructuring.

OWOSSO — Retailer J.C. Penney announced Monday it will be permanently closing its Owosso location, along with six other stores in Michigan, as part of the company’s bankruptcy restructuring.

Monday’s store closings — 13 nationwide, including seven locations in Michigan — encompass the second phase of the Plano, Texas-based retailer’s bankruptcy plan, as 136 locations have already launched liquidation sales. Overall, J.C. Penney plans to shutter 242 of its locations permanently in an effort to eliminate debt and remain in business.

“Store closure decisions are made based on a comprehensive evaluation of our retail footprint and a careful analysis of store performance and future strategic fit for J.C. Penney,” company spokeswoman Kristen Bennett said via email Tuesday. “Store closing sales (for the latest round of stores) are expected to begin on or around July 3, and will last 10 to 16 weeks.”

J.C. Penney filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May, citing declining sales figures and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as reasons for reorganization.

“The coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for our families, our loved ones, our communities, and our country,” Penney’s CEO Jill Soltau said previously in a statement to the Associated Press. “As a result, the American retail industry has experienced a profoundly different new reality, requiring J.C. Penney to make difficult decisions in running our business to protect the safety of our associates and customers and the future of our company.”

J.C. Penney has maintained a department store in Owosso for more than 102 years, opening its first Owosso location on March 30, 1918 at 115 S. Washington St.

The Owosso store was the second one to open in Michigan, and one of 20 J.C. Penneys to open in 1918, store manager Robin Wackerly said previously.

The 118-year-old retailer moved one block south to its current location, 201 S. Washington St., in 1985.

In addition to its Owosso location, J.C. Penney announced the closure of these Michigan stores Monday:

Alma — Northtown Village, 1680 Wright Ave.

Bay City — Bay City Town Center, 4129 E Wilder Road

Big Rapids — 125 S Michigan Ave.

Greenville — Greenville West Mall, 300 Greenville West Drive

Mount Pleasant — Mount Pleasant Shopping Center, 2231 S Mission Road

Okemos — Meridian Mall, 1982 W Grand River Ave.

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