JC Penney files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

JC Penney was already struggling before COVID-19, but its financial problems worsened so severely that the legendary department store announced Friday evening it is filing for bankruptcy protection.

The move follows the COVID-related bankruptcies of J. Crew and Neiman Marcus. JCP said it will also close stores, but didn't disclose which ones

Bankruptcy was filed as part of the company's restructuring plan to help navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, and in the long-term.

"The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for our families, our loved ones, our communities, and our country. As a result, the American retail industry has experienced a profoundly different new reality, requiring JCPenney to make difficult decisions in running our business to protect the safety of our associates and customers and the future of our company. Until this pandemic struck, we had made significant progress rebuilding our company under our Plan for Renewal strategy - and our efforts had already begun to pay off. While we had been working in parallel on options to strengthen our balance sheet and extend our financial runway, the closure of our stores due to the pandemic necessitated a more fulsome review to include the elimination of outstanding debt," said Jill Soltau, chief executive officer of JCPenney.

In the meantime, JC Penney says select stores will be open for curbside pickup and delivery. They are also still accepting online orders.