J.C. Penney files for bankruptcy amid coronavirus pandemic

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NEW YORK — The coronavirus pandemic has pushed the storied but troubled department store chain J.C. Penney into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It is the fourth major retailer to meet that fate.

As part of its reorganization, the 118-year-old company said late Friday it will be shuttering some stores. It said the stores will close in phases throughout the Chapter 11 process and details of the first phase will be disclosed in the coming weeks.

Penney is the biggest retailer to file for bankruptcy reorganization since the pandemic and joins luxury department store chain Neiman Marcus, J.Crew and Stage Stores. Plenty of other retailers are expected to follow.

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“The coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for our families, our loved ones, our communities, and our country,” said Penney’s CEO Jill Soltau in a statement. “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.”

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Many experts are skeptical about Penney’s survival even as it sheds its debt and shrinks the number of its stores.

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