JCPenney says it will be closing 130 to 140 stores over the next several months as it aims to improve online sales, reports the AP. Locations will be announced next month. CEO Marvin Ellison says the company also is offering an early retirement program to 6,000 employees, per the Dallas News. The closures represent about 13% of the chain's stores and less than 5% of total annual sales. The news came as the Texas-based chain posted a profit in the fourth-quarter compared to a loss a year ago. But total sales were down slightly, and a key revenue metric declined slightly as well.
JCPenney has been recovering from a catastrophic reinvention plan under former CEO Ron Johnson that sent sales and profits into a free-fall in 2012 and 2013. Business stabilized under Mike Ullman, who took the helm in 2013 after Johnson was pushed out. Under Ellison, who has been CEO since 2015, Penney is looking for new ways to increase sales while improving its e-commerce. But while annual sales were down, what's encouraging is JCPenney's profit picture. It was able to pull in a $1 million profit for the full fiscal year, the first time it earned an annual profit since 2010. JCPenney is joining other department stores like Macy's that are shrinking their footprints amid challenges in the industry. (Read more shopping stories.)