FARGO — The J.C. Penney store in the West Acres Shopping Center may not close despite the fact that the department store chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy May 15, according to Alissa Adams, senior vice president of marketing and business development.
“In a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, good stores within a chain remain open, and we expect that the West Acres J.C. Penney store will continue to operate given its strong track record,” Adams said.
She noted a reopening date, due to the coronavirus pandemic, is unknown at this time.
An estimated 240 J.C. Penney’s stores will shutter due to a faltering "transformation strategy” and economic wounds inflicted by the pandemic.
On May 15, corporate officials issued a press release stating they’d entered into a restructuring support agreement with lenders holding an estimated 70% of its first lien debt.
“The RSA contemplates agreed-upon terms for a pre-arranged financial restructuring plan (the “Plan”) that is expected to reduce several billion dollars of indebtedness, provide increased financial flexibility to help navigate through the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and better position JCPenney for the long-term,” according to the release. “To implement the Plan, the Company today filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, in Corpus Christi, TX (the "Court").”
Not all stores will close, according to officials, and those that reopen will offer curbside pick-up during the pandemic. Calls to J.C. Penney officials went unreturned Wednesday, May 20, and it remains unclear when the Fargo West Acres store will reopen, nor what that reopening will look like.
It wouldn't be the first time the Fargo store has escaped closure. As far back as 2014, when J.C. Penney closed 33 underperforming stores, Fargo was spared.
If it does reopen, the West Acres retail location will join an estimated 70 of the 100 total other stores and eateries that expect to be operational as summer approaches.
“Right now we have around 60 of our stores and eateries open, and within the next week that number will be 70,” Adams said.
Adams noted that mall hours are currently 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., however, individual store hours may vary.
“All our stores have been given the opportunity to do what is right for them,” she said. “Customers are encouraged to check westacres.com to see a list of what stores are currently open and their operating hours.”