It’s no surprise J.C. Penney is closing locally.
What is surprising is that the whole chain isn’t shutting down. Pressure from a former major investor to appoint a new CEO who didn’t understand department store retailing alienated the customer base. Maybe infuriated is a better word.
The investor sold out. The CEO was fired and Penney’s has been struggling to regain the trust and loyalty of its core shopper — middle-income, middle-class women.
The company reported a relatively strong fourth-quarter sales increase. But a high percentage of a small number is still a small number in real dollars.
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What should concern us is what might go into that space when Penney’s leaves. There are already three other midprice, full-line department stores in the Nittany Mall.
Is there really room for a fourth? I hope so. But I would be wary of the optimism mall management expressed in the CDT article (“Nittany Mall J.C. Penney to close,” Jan. 9).