JCPenney reopens in Sumter Mall; store has reduced hours, bankruptcy closures for retailer announced later


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JCPenney in the Sumter Mall reopened Wednesday as the retailer works through the early stages of its federal bankruptcy-protection case.

A corporate spokeswoman for the department store chain in Plano, Texas, responded to The Sumter Item through email Wednesday.

The already-struggling retailer closed all its stores across the U.S. in March amid the coronavirus pandemic. In the last three weeks, it has been in the process of reopening stores.

About five weeks ago on April 20, Gov. Henry McMaster lifted an executive order that had temporarily closed department stores and other retailers in response to COVID-19.

All open JCPenney stores are currently operating with reduced hours, corporate Communications Manager Kristen Bennett said in her email. Those hours are Monday through Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Bennett added that all reopened stores are implementing new safety policies and procedures to safeguard associates and customers.

Those new features include curbside pickup outside the store when buying online and same-day pickup of items already in stock at the store when ordering online.

JCPenney filed for bankruptcy protection May 15 and announced then it would be permanently closing 242 of its 846 stores, 29%, in the next year in its effort at financial restructuring.

The company has not released a closure list as of yet, Bennett said.

"It's still early in the process," she said, "and we don't have a list to share of the stores impacted by the restructuring."

Stores will close in phases throughout the bankruptcy process, Bennett added, and the first phase of closures - including specific store details and timing - will be released in the coming weeks.

After the restructuring, the retailer will have 602 stores across the U.S.