JCPenney cuts hundreds of jobs

Job cuts impacted store, field, corporate teams

Department store chain J.C.Penney has slashed hundreds of jobs as its new owners try to reshape the company that emerged from bankruptcy in late 2020.

J.C.Penney’s retail and operating assets were acquired by Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and Simon Property Group after the company sought protection in bankruptcy court at the beginning of the pandemic. 

Despite new owners, the woes continue for the ailing company, which cut 650 jobs last week as a way to streamline operations. 

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The move impacted store, field and corporate teams. However, less than 1.5% of its total associate base was affected, the company told FOX Business. 

"After months of operational review by our new owners, Simon Property Group and Brookfield Asset Management, JCPenney has adjusted our structure to better meet our strategic priorities," J.C. Penney said in a statement to FOX Business. "We have streamlined our organization, resulting in the elimination of positions across our corporate, field, and stores teams."

A woman walks by a J.C.Penney store. (Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The company said the layoffs were a "necessary step to ensure the long-term success" of the company. 

However, the company focused on eliminating open positions first and tried to offer alternative positions to affected employees when possible. 

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Last May, the company became one of the largest retailers to seek bankruptcy protection during the pandemic amid a wave of store closures forced by the spread of COVID-19 infections in the U.S.

As part of its efforts to restructure under Chapter 11, the company planned to permanently close nearly a third of its 846 stores over the next two years, which would leave it with just over 600 locations. 

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SPG SIMON PROPERTY GROUP, INC. 125.33 -3.33 -2.59%

Bankruptcy lawyer Joshua Sussberg of Kirkland & Ellis said at a hearing in September that the rescue deal would save roughly 70,000 jobs. 

Still, its plans to shutter locations continued. The company previously confirmed to FOX Business that it would be closing 18 additional stores in May as a "part of a phased store optimization strategy" announced last year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.