JCPenney to close

JC Penney, one of the anchor tenants of Aberdeen’s SouthShore Mall, told store employees Thursday that the store will close its doors in August.

Mayor Bill Simpson said he was contacted Thursday morning and notified about the closure. After working at the store for 29 years before his retirement, he said it would be strange to see it go.

“I’m just sorry to see the store closing. The fact of shopping the Harbor first is important to me and obviously that hasn’t happened,” he said.

A representative from JC Penney responded to inquiries about the closure via email.

“Each year, we evaluate our store portfolio to determine whether there’s a need to close or relocate underperforming stores. Reviews such as these are essential in meeting our long-term goals for future company growth. While it’s never an easy decision to close a store, especially due to the impact on our valued team members and customers, we would not have moved forward with this difficult decision if we did not believe it was absolutely necessary,” wrote media relations manager Joey Thomas.

In the past month, JC Penney has shed 2,200 jobs company-wide, bringing the total to 19,000 in the past year. Its stock prices have also fallen by 60 percent in that time, according to the Los Angeles Times. Revenue was down 25 percent in the 2012 fiscal year that ended Feb. 2.

The company is also dealing with a lawsuit over products designed by Martha Stewart alleged to violate her contract with Macy’s.

JC Penney rents its space in the SouthShore Mall, unlike the other anchor tenant Sears, which owns its building. A representative from the SouthShore Mall Realty Management Group, LLC declined to comment Thursday on the closure.

The mall was sold to the New York-based real estate investment group last August for $1 million. Owners at that time said their goal was to revitalize the mall.

After The Daily World broke the story on its Facebook page Thursday morning, comments quickly turned to speculation about what stores might work in the mall and lamentations about the closure.

Shelley Plemmons wrote, “Wish a developer would put in outlet stores, people flock to those and we have all that tourist traffic.”

“Too many people shopping at Wally World (Walmart). Stores in the mall can’t do much without the traffic, and customers buying stuff. If people want the mall to do good, they HAVE TO SHOP THERE,” wrote Jason Stamwitz.

Brian Baldwin asked, “Where’s the public outcry like the D&R (Theatre) gets?”