CLEVELAND - Two Northeast Ohio JCPenney stores are set to close, although they are not the ones predicted by business analysts earlier in March.
The JCPenney stores at the Richmond Town Square in Richmond Heights and the Newtown Mall in New Philadelphia are on the the chopping block. A press release says most of the stores affected by the decision will begin liquidation in April.
The company plans to shutter 138 stores in 2017. The department store chain has not disclose how many jobs would be cut, but it said it is also offering early retirement to 6,000 full-time employees.
The press release also states: "JCPenney is in the process of identifying relocation opportunities within the Company for esteemed leaders. Additionally, JCPenney will provide outplacement support services for those eligible associates who will be leaving the Company. Most affected stores will begin the liquidation process on April 17."
The closings should take place by the end of June. JCPenney will also close two distribution centers. It had 105,000 employees manning 1,021 stores as of a year ago.
In early March, based on data about store sales, Morningstar Credit Ratings identified 39 stores most at risk of closing. It pointed to Great Northern Mall, North Olmsted and Northtowne Mall, Defiance as two locations in our region at risk. They were not on the list released on March 17.
There are 12 JCPenney stores within 50 miles of downtown Cleveland, including several in Akron.