Richland Center Mayor Paul Corcoran didn’t see it coming.
The J.C. Penney store in his community is one of four in Wisconsin, and 138 nationwide, slated for closing, the apparel, accessories and home furnishings retailer announced Friday.
“Penney’s never contacted the city to see if we could do something to help them to see if they would stay,” Mayor Paul Corcoran said. “It’s disappointing that they didn’t try to make it work here.”
The Penney’s store is in Richland Square, a shopping center on the east side of the city of just over 5,000 people, about 60 miles northwest of Madison.
Penney’s — one of the biggest stores in Richland Center — is “always busy,” Corcoran said, and is a “major anchor” of the shopping center, whose other businesses include a grocery store, sporting goods store and men’s clothing store.
“There’s going to be a lot of people without work,” the mayor said. He estimated the store employs about 50 people.
A store manager, reached by phone Friday, declined to comment about the news.
Corcoran said J.C. Penney has had a store in Richland Center for decades; it was downtown before moving out to the shopping center about 25 years ago, he said.
“We’ve been pretty fortunate to have them here for as long as they have been here. They were well established,” Corcoran added.
The other J.C. Penney stores in Wisconsin due to be shuttered are at Marshfield Mall, Marshfield; Rapids Mall, Wisconsin Rapids; and Pine Tree Mall, Marinette.
J.C. Penney stores at the East Towne and West Towne malls in Madison are not affected by the closings.
Like other department stores, J.C. Penney Co. is hurting as more people shop online instead of heading to the mall. The closures are part of the company’s plans, announced in February, to focus on its best-performing stores. About 5,000 jobs will be cut due to the closures, J.C. Penney said. The company had about 105,000 full-time and part-time employees last year.
Nine stores will close in Texas, eight will close in Minnesota and seven in Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Liquidation sales at the 138 stores will start next month, and most will be shut by mid-June, the company said. The closings will leave J.C. Penney with about 900 stores.
J.C. Penney, based in Plano, Texas, was founded in 1902 by James Cash Penney in Kemmerer, Wyoming.
The company had sales of $12.5 billion in the 2016 fiscal year, down from $12.6 billion the year before.
J.C. Penney stock, publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol JCP, closed Friday at $5.99, down 17 cents a share, or 2.76 percent. The stock has ranged from $5.87 to $11.85 a share over the past year. J.C. Penney stock sold for as much as $85 a share in February 2007.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.
4 JC Penney stores in Wisconsin to close in nationwide reduction – Madison.com