JC Penney to kick off store closing sales in June

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The liquidation deals are on their way. J.C. Penney is planning to kick off a round of store closure sales as soon as next month. 

The department store chain, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 15, plans to file a store closing procedure motion on June 4, for a hearing set to take place on June 11, at which point some sales will begin, Kirkland & Ellis attorney Joshua Sussberg said Thursday during a virtual court status update. 

And then on July 1, a smaller, second phase of store closing sales will commence, Sussberg said. 

A list of the Penney locations set to close over the summer could not immediately be obtained by CNBC. 

“All in all, those store closing sales will take place [over] 12 to 14 weeks,” Sussberg said on the call. He said the plan is for Penney to maximize the back-to-school season, granted kids are able to go back to school during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The bankrupted company had said earlier this month that it plans to permanently shut almost 30% of its 846 stores, as part of its restructuring. It has said it plans to close 192 stores by February 2021, followed by another 50 in 2022, leaving the company with a little more than 600 department stores in malls across the country. 

Meantime, Penney said in a separate press release Thursday that it has reopened 150 more stores in 27 states, bringing the total number of locations that it has reopened during the Covid-19 crisis to 304. It said five locations are doing curbside pickup only. And the company said nearly 500 shops should be reopened by June 3. 

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According to Sussberg, Penney’s sales are down about 39% year over year, and trends are improving as additional locations reopen. 

The company has also requested from all of its landlords a rent abatement for the months of June, July and August, he said. 

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