February 24, 2017 / 12:36 PM / 6 months ago

BRIEF-J C Penney says to close 130-140 stores over next few months

Feb 24 (Reuters) - J C Penney Company Inc

* J C Penney announces plan to optimize retail operations, advance growth and drive profitability

* J C Penney Company Inc says under plan, company expects to close two distribution facilities and approximately 130 - 140 stores over next few months

* J C Penney Company Inc - decided to initiate a voluntary early retirement program for approximately 6,000 eligible associates

* J C Penney Company Inc - as a result of store actions, J C Penney will close a distribution center located in Lakeland, Fla. In early June

* J C Penney - total store closures represent approximately 13 - 14 % of company's current store portfolio, less than 5% of total annual sales

* J C Penney Company - also is in process of selling its supply chain facility in Buena Park, Calif. In an effort to monetize a lucrative real estate asset

* J C Penney Company Inc says associates who will be impacted by store and distribution center closures will receive separation benefits

* J C Penney Company Inc - total store closures represent approximately less than 2% of EBITDA and 0% of net income

* J C Penney Company Inc - annual cost savings resulting from these strategic decisions are estimated at approximately $200 mln

* J C Penney Company Inc - during first half of 2017, company expects to record an estimated pre-tax charge of approximately $225 mln

* J C Penney Company Inc says annual cost savings resulting from strategic decisions are estimated at approximately $200 mln

* J C Penney Company Inc - nearly all impacted stores are expected to close in Q2 of 2017

* J C Penney Company Inc - "we believe we must take aggressive action to better align our retail operations for sustainable growth"

* J C Penney Company Inc - company's qualified pension plan will remain in a "well-funded status" post verp

* J C Penney Company Inc - no cash contributions to pension plan are anticipated for "foreseeable future"

* J C Penney - charges related to voluntary early retirement program of which vast majority will be non-cash, to be reported in co's Q1 2017 results Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

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