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J.C. Penney to close outlets, catalog division, six stores

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J.C. Penney Co. is to wind down its catalog and outlet operations, and close down underperforming stores, it announced today. The retailer also said it has taken on two new board members — activist investor William Ackman and Vornado Realty Trust Chairman Steven Roth.

The chain said that over the course of this year it will close five department stores and a Home Store and, during 2011 and 2012, it will also shut 19 outlet stores. These and other measures will add $25 million to $30 million to 2012 earnings, the company said.

Department stores to be closed are in Morrow, Ga.; West Dundee, Ill; Des Moines, Iowa; High Point, N.C.; and Culpeper, Va. The Home Store is in Duluth, Ga. On an earnings call, Myron E. Ullman III, chairman and CEO, said the company hasn’t decided whether it will shut down its outlet division entirely, close down stores or reopen some as regular JCPenneys.

Vornado and Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management own between them a 26 percent–stake in J.C. Penney. “We welcome Bill and Steve to the board,” said Ullman, in a prepared statement. “They share our passion for operational excellence and are committed to enhancing value for all of the company’s shareholders. We look forward to benefiting from their expertise.”

Compiled by the staff of Shopping Centers Today. © January 24, 2011 International Council of Shopping Centers.

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