Fort Steuben Mall Penney stays open

TRIADELPHIA – The J.C. Penney stores at the Highlands and the Fort Steuben Mall are not included in the list of the stores that will be closing in an effort to save the Plano, Texas-based company $65 million per year.

The Washington, Pa., J.C. Penney will not be as fortunate, as it is one of 33 stores throughout the U.S. slated to close by May, resulting in 2,000 workers losing their jobs. This store returned to its original location at the Washington Mall after moving to the failed nearby Foundry shopping center in March 2007. The Foundry was quickly abandoned once the developers filed for bankruptcy and the structure itself began to collapse.

“As we continue to progress toward long-term profitable growth, it is necessary to re-examine the financial performance of our store portfolio and adjust our national footprint accordingly,” said Myron E. Ullman III, J.C. Penney CEO. “While it’s always difficult to make a business decision that impacts our valued customers and associates, this important step addresses a strategic priority to improve the profitability of our stores – and position J.C. Penney for future success.”

Remaining inventory in the affected stores will be sold over the next several months. Eligible associates who do not remain with the company will receive separation benefits packages.

Long a staple on Market Street in downtown Wheeling, J.C. Penney relocated the store to the then-new Ohio Valley Mall in St. Clairsville in 1979. Following years as one of the mall’s original anchor stores, J.C. Penney closed the mall store in 2007 to move to a new free-standing structure at the Highlands. The mall eventually landed the new Boscov’s store to fill the vacancy.

J.C. Penney is the second large retailer to announce the closure of stores other than those it operates in the Upper Ohio Valley this year, as neither the newly upgraded Macy’s store at the Ohio Valley Mall nor the company’s store at the Fort Steuben Mall will close as part of its $100 million cost-cutting plan.