National department store brand JCPenney plans to close the doors of stores around the country this year, including the company’s 35-year-old location in the Oxford Mall.
On Friday, JCPenney announced that 138 of its locations will be closing nationwide, according to Fortune. The company will consolidate its locations to those that can make money with their chains of boutiques, like Sephora. The company also plans to open new appliance and home service stores in many of its locations. According to USA Today, the store closures will displace nearly 5,000 workers, but some will receive transfer opportunities. The company will also continue to operate 900 stores nationwide.
Walter Boney has been the manager of the Oxford location for 14 years and said he has worked for the company for 35 years. He said the location will begin liquidation on April 17 and its doors will officially close on June 18.
JCPenney has been open on Jackson Avenue since 1982, through a few generations of Oxonian shoppers.
“I can tell you one thing: It sucks,” Oxford resident Pete Allison said. “I love Penney’s. I always have, and I don’t get why they’re closing the store.”
Allison said he doesn’t know where he is going to shop once the store officially closes. Department stores Marshalls and Ross Dress for Less opened new locations in Oxford in the past months, offering locals other options.
“I’d rather come here than Marshalls or Ross,” Allison said. “I’ve never been inside those places, and I’ve been here on a weekly basis.”
Oxford local Joyce Richard said she likes to shop at JCPenney because she can find clothes for her grandchildren at good prices.
“I think it’s a shame,” Richard said. “We don’t have a lot of retailers, so I think it’s bad for the community. It’s probably the best store in town with the sales and everything.”
Senior Shan Tuo said she has been buying clothes at JCPenney since she’s studied in Oxford. Tuo said she spends between $100 and $300 per year in the store and sees the store’s closing as a pity she expected to come soon.
“JCPenney is not a fashion store for young people, but they use big discounts and sales to attract the older customers,” Tuo said. “But if people spend time on finding clothes there, they can still find good products.”
JCPenney CEO Mark Ellison stated in a press release that closing stores will allow the company to make changes to its business in order to compete with the growing online retail scene.
“I have three daughters, so it’s easier for me to take them and let them try clothes on rather than ordering online and having to return them,” McCullen said.