J.C. Penney, weighed down by debt and battered by the coronavirus, has filed for bankruptcy.
Sales at J.C Penney have fallen annually since 2016. Its roughly 860-store footprint is less than a quarter of its store base in 2001. The company’s nearly $11 billion in sales the last fiscal year are almost a third of its sales the same year.
The Plano, Texas-based retailer, which was founded more than a century ago, employed roughly 90,000 full- and part-time employees as of February.
It joins fellow department store chains Neiman Marcus and Stage Stores as victims of the pandemic, which has forced their doors shut and exacerbated problems that existed before the virus started spreading. Department stores have struggled to maintain a foothold in U.S. retail. Brands sidestepped them by selling to shoppers directly. Online retailers have lured shoppers away from malls in which many department stores are based.
J.C Penney skipped a $12 million interest payment on April 15, starting the clock on a 30-day grace period. On Friday, it said it made a $17 million interest payment that was due May 7.