J.C. Penney Co. Inc., in bankruptcy proceedings since May 15 and liquidating scores of stores, has added its Manhattan Mall store to its list of closures.
The two-level, 150,000-square-foot Manhattan Mall store has been closed since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic and will not reopen, Penney’s said Tuesday afternoon.
Penney’s opened the Manhattan Mall store in August 2009 with a lot of hoopla. The city’s mayor at the time, Michael Bloomberg, along with a bevy of models and hundreds of onlookers came to the opening day, underscoring the significance of the opening for the Plano, Tex.-based chain and the city. It was a sign that Penney’s was attempting to become aggressive again and stand up to the much larger and popular Macy’s Herald Square, a block away. However, Penney’s location situated between 32nd and 33rd Streets was not ideal, being below ground with low ceilings and a claustrophobic layout often overloaded with merchandise and markdowns.
Penney’s has also decided to close its Kings Plaza store in Brooklyn, N.Y. The location is open and will permanently close on Sept. 27, 2020. The store will likely begin its liquidation sale next week.
In New York City, Penney’s also has stores in the Bay Plaza Mall in the Bronx; Queens Center in Elmhurst; the Staten Island Mall, and Gateway Center in Brooklyn.
At this time, nearly all Penney’s stores have reopened after temporarily closing due to the COVID-19.
Penney’s, currently with about 850 units, has been announcing store closings in phases. It’s in the process of liquidating 136 stores, though the retailer has 169 on its list of units to be closed and is expected to announce additional closings.
There’s no word yet on how many stores will ultimately close, though some retail experts believe Penney’s needs to shutter at least several hundred stores in order to survive.
On June 4, Penney’s disclosed the first phase of 154 store closures, and noted that additional phases would occur. The company said it would focus on its strongest stores and e-commerce.
Bankruptcy enables retailers to get out of weak locations without penalty.