SEQUIM — The Sequim JCPenney store will close, its 35 employees were told Thursday.
An employee, who wished to remain unidentified, said Friday that liquidation of the store’s stock would begin probably after Christmas and the store would close permanently several months later, perhaps in March.
It wasn’t yet known if employees will be able to transfer to other positions within the company.
The store — the only JCPenney on the North Olympic Peninsula — has been at its location at 651 W. Washington St. for the past 25 years and was in Port Angeles prior to that.
It survived the closure of 138 stores nationwide in 2017, but not the sale to the Simon Property Group and Brookfield Asset Management Inc., which was announced Monday. The reorganization plan will allow the company to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy next year but will cut the number of stores to 160.
Online retailers were cited as reason for a need to save money in 2017; the slump in sales brought about by COVID-19 precautions played a role in the present action, according to the employee.
The store has won several corporate awards in the past, including the Chairman’s Award and the Founder’s Award, considered the “highest distinction for excellence,” according to JCPenney corporate representatives.
Although the Sequim location is one of the smaller JCPenney stores in Washington, at about 29,000 gross square feet, it has long been viewed as a very profitable store.
It opened in 1995 after moving from Port Angeles into the former Safeway building.
The sale completed Monday had been approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas on Nov. 9. On Nov. 24, the court approved the company’s reorganization plan.
With the completion of the sale, JCPenney has access to about $1.5 billion of new financing, according to a company press release.