BATTLE CREEK, MICH. - Battle Creek's JCPenney will close at the end of the month, ending the company's more than 90-year run in the community.
The department store chain said it's closing within Lakeview Square Mall on July 31. It has been marked for closure since March when the company said it is among 138 of its stores scheduled to close amid struggling sales and a shifting retail market.
JCPenney has been a mall tenant since it opened in 1983.
Company spokesperson Joey Thomas said in an email Monday the decision to close Battle Creek's store was based on store performance, local demographics and its "ability to deliver on the company's growth strategies."
Thomas singled out the need for its stores to "execute a seamless omnichannel experience" that includes online order fulfillment and same-day pickup, for example.
He added that company actions that impact employees and customers is "difficult," but the company is planning to relocate some employees and provide outplacement services to eligible associates.
Also included in the store closures are Michigan locations in Escanaba, Holland, Houghton, Kingsford, Midland and Sault Ste. Marie.
Battle Creek has been hit multiple times by the so-called "retail apocalypse," a term popularly used for the closure of brick-and-mortar retail stores starting in 2016.
Along with JCPenney, the community has seen closures of Macy's, MC Sports, Family Christian Stores, Hat World and RadioShack in recent years. Some of the former locations already have hit the commercial real estate market such as the 100,545-square-foot former Macy's store, listed for sale by Southfield-based CBRE Inc. at $1,000,000.
Chain restaurants in the city also have not been immune, with the losses of Old Country Buffet, Don Pablo's, Lone Star Steakhouse, Tim Hortons and Don Pablo's among them.
Thomas said JCPenney held its grand opening in Battle Creek on Oct. 28, 1925, a year in which the company opened 105 stores. JCPenney had 676 stores by the end of 1925.
It operated a little more than 1,000 locations as recently as last year.
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