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J.C. Penney stays open in St. Cloud

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03/18/2017 | 04:59 am

March 17--The Crossroads Center J.C. Penney store will remain open as 138 stores close across the nation in a cost-cutting move.

A list published Friday morning by USA TODAY includes eight Minnesota stores slated for closure. Those are in Faribault, Baxter, Winona, Fairmont, Hibbing, Hutchinson, Red Wing, Thief River Falls.

The company said several weeks ago that it would be closing more than 130 stores over the next few months and offer buyouts to 6,000 workers as the department-store industry competes online sellers.

The St. Cloud store is a longtime anchor at Crossroads Center.

"We're a regional hub, so our business here is very good and we have a big client base," said John Van Boening, general manager of Crossroads Center's J.C.Penney store.

The cuts come amid mounting challenges for once-stalwart department store chains such as Macy's and Sears, which are also aggressively closing stores to shed costs as shoppers flock to alternatives.

J.C. Penney earlier said it expects to save about $200 million in annual costs in connection with the plan, and the retailer said Friday that the closures would displace 5,000 workers. Some will receive transfer opportunities and some will not.

Penney will continue to operate nearly 900 stores.

The cost cuts will "allow us to raise the overall brand standard of J.C. Penney" and invest in remaining stores, Penney Chief Executive Officer Marvin Ellison told investors in February.

Van Boening said with the store closures comes a more concerted effort to improve services at the stores remaining open.

"There is going to be a bigger effort in terms of online, as well as expansion in home divisions and expanded merchandise offerings," he said.

The closures, which account for about 14 percent of its locations, come as the department-store industry struggles to keep up with online sellers and niche retailers.

Macy's recently announced plans to cut 100 of its 675 full-line stores. Sears said it plans to close 150 stores, including 108 Kmart locations, leaving it with more than 1,300.

This report includes information from USA TODAY.

About J.C. Penney at Crossroads

(ASTERISK) One of the original stores at Crossroads Center.

(ASTERISK) Opened at the mall in the first week of 1966.

(ASTERISK) Had previously operated a store on St. Germain Street in downtown St. Cloud.

(ASTERISK) Gained an additional entrance with 2004 expansion of the mall.

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(c)2017 St. Cloud Times (St. Cloud, Minn.)

Visit the St. Cloud Times (St. Cloud, Minn.) at www.sctimes.com

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