Is JC Penney Going To Close Some Of Its Stores?

This is rumor only, folks, but a tipster tells us that JC Penney plans on closing 11 stores this year, and that they’re freezing salaries on all employees. The retailer isn’t doing as badly as some of its competitors—it has no debt maturing in 2009, for example, and plans to have $2 billion in cash on hand at the end of this month—but considering CEO Mike Ullman has said he’s planning business conservatively for 2009, it wouldn’t be that surprising if it turns out to be true.

Here’s the rumor. We looked for a list of store closings but couldn’t find anything, so if we come across more info later to prove/disprove this we’ll add it.

[Last Wednesday] JC Penney announced to employees they will be closing 11 stores in the eastern US, and [last Friday] announced an immediate year-long freeze on all pay raises from its corporate big-wigs all the way to part time cashiers.

Both announcements were made in store meetings where attendance was mandatory.

Employees at my local store are devastated and see it as only a matter of time before they’re let go. Most have stated they will be looking for a new job ASAP, and most who were close to a raise are demoralized and bitter. I’d expect a mass exodus of disgruntled Penney’s employees pretty soon.