PLANO, Texas, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- J.C. Penney announced Thursday it plans to close 39 stores and lay off up to 2,250 employees despite a decent holiday shopping season.
The company said the 39 underperforming stores -- representing 4 percent of the retailer's total number of locations -- will be closed by early April.
"We continually evaluate our store portfolio to determine whether there's a need to close or relocate underperforming stores,'' said company media relations manager Sarah Holland. "Reviews such as these are essential in meeting our long-term goals for future company growth. While it's never an easy decision to close stores, especially due to the impact on our valued associates and customers, we feel this is a necessary business decision."
The news comes one day after J.C. Penney said its same-store sales rose 3.7 percent over the holidays.
Consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow told USA Today consumers are more interested in "smaller, easier to navigate, technology-enhanced shopping experiences.
"Retail is in a massive transformation period. Consumers have lost their enthusiasm for trolling through massive stores hunting for a bargain. They can do that online," Yarrow said. "The only big department stores that will remain relevant to consumers are those that are incorporate tricks and treats into the shopping mix -- like product offerings you can't find online, special demonstration or sampling, cushy or fun relaxation areas."
The news to close 39 stores in 19 states comes one week short of one year after the retailer announced plans to close 33 locations and cut 2,000 jobs.