JCPenney to Reportedly Close Nearly 200 Stores This Year After Filing for Bankruptcy

JCPenney plans to close 200 stores this year, according to the company's new bankruptcy filing. Reporters from CNN acquired the company's bankruptcy filing, which included some details on its plans to close stores and reduce its operational costs in the coming months. So far, it is not clear which stores will be closed.

JCPenney filed for bankruptcy back on May 4, and new details from the filing are now coming to light. The clothing retailer laid out its plans to close 200 stores in 2020 and another 50 stores in 2021. The company did not specify how many jobs this would do away with, but JCPenney was already struggling before the coronavirus pandemic began. The company employs 85,000 people and operates 846 stores across the country right now.

Over 95 percent of JCPenney stores are currently closed in compliance with coronavirus safety issues. Back in February, the company had announced plans to close down six stores in April, but that was before the outbreak reached the U.S. Now, the new plan has just over 600 stores operational by the end of 2021.

Sadly, JCPenney is just one of the retail giants in the U.S. to file for bankruptcy this month. According to a report by CNN Business, J. Crew, Neiman Marcus and Stage Stores have all done so as well. The director of retail studies at the Columbia Business School, Mark Cohen, suggested that the COVID-19 crisis simply accelerated the trends that were already in effect.

"The retailers who were wandering around aimlessly pre-pandemic are going to be substantially less likely to muddle through than they were before," he said. Jefferies analyst Randal Konik added: "Store-based retail was already struggling with internet consumption trends before coronavirus, and now will be faced with accelerated demand shifts to the internet."

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There does seem to be a corresponding boom for online retailers as well, as Amazon has seen a surge in order since the pandemic began. According to a study published by the website Comparisun, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' net worth has grown by an average of 34 percent for the last five years, counting the coronavirus bump. The study shows that if growth continues at this rate, Bezos could be the world's first trillionaire by the year 2026.

This fact has drawn criticism down on Bezos, from some of his employees and onlookers as well. Many believe the Amazon warehouse workers should see some improvements in their day-to-day jobs from the profits Bezos is reaping. As the study spread, Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted: "While Jeff Bezos is on track to become the world's first trillionaire in the middle of a pandemic, Amazon is ending overtime pay for warehouse and delivery workers on the front lines. This is immoral."