JCPenney closing 33 stores but restoring commissions
Clint Engel -- Furniture Today, January 16, 2014
PLANO, Texas — JCPenney said Wednesday that it will close 33 underperforming stores in 20 states and eliminate 2,000 positions in a move expected to save the company $65 million beginning this year.
The retailer also said it will reinstate commission pay for employees working in window coverings, furniture and fine jewelry departments in February and March. That move will affect more than 3,000 employees.
One of the closing locations, in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., is a furniture outlet store that will be relocating, according to a company spokesperson. All others are JCPenney department stores.
The store closings and employee cuts are part of the struggling department store chain's turnaround efforts as it focuses its resources its "highest potential growth opportunities," it said in a release.
JCPenney expects to incur related pre-tax charges of about $26 million in the fourth quarter of its 2013 fiscal year and about $17 million "in future periods," it said. Inventory in the closing stores will be sold over the next few months, with final closings expected by May.
The retailer has plans to open one store later this year at the Gateway II development in Brooklyn, N.Y.
"As we continue to progress toward long-term profitable growth, it is necessary to reexamine the financial performance of our store portfolio and adjust our national footprint accordingly," CEO Mike Ullman said in a statement. "While it`s always difficult to make a business decision that impacts our valued customers and associates, this important step addresses a strategic priority to improve the profitability of our stores and position JCPenney for future success."
The move to reinstate certain commissions also is related to turnaround efforts. "Commissions were discontinued under previous leadership in May 2012," Ann Marie Bishop, senior manager, media relations & corporate affairs said in an email for Furniture/Today. She added that the new plan impacts all furniture sales associates.
"As we continue to stabilize the business and regain market share, one of our most important goals is to reconnect with our customer," the company said in a statement. "Offering a competitive salary base that includes a commission incentive not only helps in retaining some of our best sales associates, it motivates them to build and maintain stronger customer relationships."
Furniture/Today estimated 2012 furniture and bedding sales for JCPenney at $285 million. The retailer's JCPenney Home Stores are No. 88 on Furniture/Today's Top 100 with estimated furniture, bedding and accessories sales of $55 million at 32 stores in 2012.
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