ROCKLAND, Maine — The J.C. Penney department store in Rockland Plaza is one of 138 locations that will be closed across the country by the end of the year.
JC Penney Co. Inc. announced on Friday the locations of stores it plans to close, adding that it would buy out about 6,000 employees in the process, according to the USA Today, Boston Globe and other media outlets.
“It’s really too bad,” Ellen Andrews said outside the Rockland store Friday afternoon, holding a bag of bed sheets she had just purchased.
“It’s a shame for the community — a lot of people use this store and it’s been a great resource for Rockland,” Debbie Shepherd said. “It’s been such a staple.”
The retail corporation also operates stores in Bangor, South Portland, Aroostook, Auburn and Waterville.
The mass closure represents a cleaving of more than 14 percent of J.C. Penney storefronts in more than 40 states across the country, and is expected to save the retail chain about $200 million in annual costs. It also will allow the department store a chance to shift its focus to offering new items, such as toys, appliances, home goods and beauty products, according to Penney CEO Marvin Ellison.
Ellison told USA Today that by closing 138 stores, the retail chain will aim to raise the standard of its brand name. Part of the new marketing strategy will be geared toward selling more items that appeal to women, who make up about 70 percent of the store’s customer base.
Liquidation of the stores is expected to begin next month.