J.C. Penney in Nittany Mall closing

The JCPenney store at the Nittany Mall will close, according to media reports.
The JCPenney store at the Nittany Mall will close, according to media reports. CDT photo

J.C. Penney in the Nittany Mall will close in the spring.

The retailer “has struggled nationwide,” mall manager Polly Welch said, “and this is one of the stores they’ve chosen to close.”

J.C. Penney spokeswoman Sarah Holland confirmed the closure in an email Thursday, adding that the final day would be on or about April 4.

“While it’s never an easy decision to close stores, especially due to the impact on our valued associates and customers, we feel this is a necessary business decision,” she said. “Our decision to close these locations was made after careful analysis of store performance and future strategic fit for the company.”

On Tuesday, the Plano, Texas-based company issued a news release that provided a “preliminary update” on the company’s holiday season, reporting “comparable store sales growth of 3.7 percent over the same period last year.”

“Our highest priority over the last year has been to restore profitable sales growth at J.C. Penney. This holiday season was instrumental in that effort — and our teams delivered,” the release quoted CEO Myron Ullman as saying. “I would like to thank our associates for their hard work, warrior spirit and commitment to delivering an exceptional customer experience every day.”

The release said, “We are proud of these results, and believe the work we are doing will fuel the continued growth of our business.”

But on Wednesday, the company announced that 39 stores, including the State College store and four others in Pennsylvania — in Chambersburg, Hummels Wharf, Media and York — would close.

Holland said eligible employees who do not remain with the company would receive separation benefits and, if possible, would be offered positions at other stores.

She said employees also would be offered career training consisting of a class in writing resumes, filling out applications and answering interview questions.

Welch described the space occupied by the J.C. Penney store as one of the mall’s “premier locations” and said several potential retail tenants have looked at the space.

She said the mall anticipates announcing a replacement store in the next few months.