SEQUIM — The North Olympic Peninsula’s only J.C. Penney store will remain open while 138 other locations will be shuttered, J.C. Penney Co. Inc. has announced.
The parent company announced Friday which stores would close. J.C. Penney’s corporate offices first made the announcement for plans Feb. 24 to close up to 140 stores to save about $200 million.
Paul Quinn, general manager for the Sequim J.C. Penney at 651 W. Washington St., said he learned which stores were closing in a conference call Tuesday.
The Snohomish J.C. Penney, which is in a similar market to Sequim’s, is the only store set to close in Washington state. Five will close in Oregon and one each in Idaho and Montana.
Company officials said most of the stores will close between April and June.
One of the reasons for the closures, said chairman and CEO of J.C. Penney Marvin R. Ellison in a news release, is to “effectively compete against the growing threat of online retailers.”
He expressed confidence in leveraging the brick and mortar stores with the company’s online site, saying 75 percent of online orders touched a physical store.
Ellison also said J.C. Penney delivered its first net profit since 2010 in 2016. James Cash Penney founded the first store in 1902 in Kemmerer, Wyo.
The stores marked for closure either “require significant capital to achieve the company’s new brand standard or are minimally cash flow positive today relative to the company’s overall consolidated average,” the company said the news release.
Specific sales numbers were not provided, but the news release said closing stores’ sales are below remaining stores and cost more to operate.
The company also offered voluntary retirement for about 6,000 eligible associates based on age and years of service.
This year, J.C. Penney has announced other initiatives to grow the company, including increased partnerships with Nike and starting J.C. Penney Home Services, a pilot project for bathroom remodeling and similar services.
What’s next for Sequim’s store with these initiatives isn’t quite set, Quinn said.
“We don’t know what upgrades or anything else they’re going to do,” he said.
“I imagine they’ll make a schedule of these things after the hurdle of closing stores.”
Sequim’s store is seeing an increase in merchandise flow each week, though, he said, including more women’s Nike active wear.
Sequim J.C. Penney remains one of the smaller J.C. Penney stores in Washington at about 29,000 gross square feet compared to its closest stores in Silverdale at 162,000 gross square feet and the Tacoma Mall store at 228,800 gross square feet.
It opened in 1995 after moving from Port Angeles into the former Safeway building and employs 40 full-time and part-time employees in its retail store and salon.
Its hours are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays.
For more information about the Sequim J.C. Penney store, call 360-681-2833 or visit www.jcpenney.com.
Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].