J.C. Penney to file for bankruptcy

The storied, 118-year-old department store is preparing to file for bankruptcy as early as next week, Reuters reported Friday. J.C. Penney would be the first major retailer in the U.S.to buckle under the pressure of the coronavirus' effect on the American economy.Filing for bankruptcy would close a chapter of slow decline for the department store chain, which has been in business since 1902.

Founded in Kemmerer, Wyoming, in 1902 by James Cash Penney, the company grew to be the largest retailer in the country, now operating approximately 850 locations and employing almost 85,000 people across the United States and Puerto Rico. They asked not to be identified because discussions with the Plano, Texas-based company are private. The firm could provide a portion of the bankruptcy loan, also known as a debtor-in-possession financing, but plans haven't been finalized, they said.

J.C. Penney Chief Executive Jill Soltau told customers in a Thursday email that stores have started to gradually reopen with precautions such as Plexiglass shields at registers and limited crowds.

The report comes just a day after Reuters said J.C. Penney missed a $17 million debt payment while it's also facing a $12 million missed payment from April 15 for which it has 30 days to make good on.

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The situation remains fluid and the decision could change, depending on market conditions, the people said.

The story said roughly 200 stores would be closed following the reorganization. J.C. Penney had 846 department stores in 49 states and Puerto Rico as of February 1.

Check out the full-report from Reuters here.

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