J.C. Penney Company, Inc. announced on Friday, March 17, its plan to close 138 stores across the United States but the North Olympic Peninsula’s only store in Sequim at 651 W. Washington St., will remain open.
Snohomish JCPenney, a similar market to Sequim’s, is the only store set to close in Washington along with five in Oregon and one each in Idaho and Montana. Company officials said most of the announced stores will close April-June.
Paul Quinn, general manager for the Sequim JCPenney, said he learned which stores were closing in a conference call on March 14.
JCPenney’s corporate offices first made the announcement for plans on Feb. 24 to close up to 140 stores to save about $200 million.
One of the reasons for the closures, said chairman and CEO of JCPenney Marvin R. Ellison in the press release, is to “effectively compete against the growing threat of online retailers.”
He expressed confidence in leveraging the brick and mortar stores with the company’s online site saying 75 percent of online orders touched a physical store.
Ellison also said JCPenney delivered its first net profit since 2010 in 2016. James Cash Penney founded the first store in 1902 in Kemmerer, Wyo.
Closing stores either “require significant capital to achieve the company’s new brand standard or are minimally cash flow positive today relative to the company’s overall consolidated average,” the press release states.
Specific sales numbers were not provided but the press release states closing stores’ sales are below remaining stores and cost more to operate.
The company also offered voluntary retirement for about 6,000 eligible associates based on age and years of service.
This year, JCPenney has announced other initiatives to grow the company including increased partnerships with Nike and starting JCPenney Home Services, a pilot project for bathroom remodeling and similar services.
What’s next for Sequim’s store with these initiatives isn’t quite set, Quinn said.
“We don’t know what upgrades or anything else they’re going to do,” he said.
“I imagine they’ll make a schedule of these things after the hurdle of closing stores.”
Sequim’s store is seeing an increase in merchandise flow each week though, he said, including more women’s Nike active wear.
Sequim JCPenney remains one of the smaller JCPenney stores in Washington at about 29,000 gross square feet compared to its closest stores in Silverdale at 162,000 gross square feet and the Tacoma Mall store at 228,800 gross square feet.
It opened in 1995 after moving from Port Angeles into the former Safeway building and employs 40 full-time and part-time employees in its retail store and salon.
Its hours are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.
For more information about the Sequim JCPenney store, call 681-2833 or visit jcpenney.com.