JCPenney at Sunvalley Mall is closing

Former department store giant JCPenney will close its location within the Sunvalley Mall in Concord.

The chain announced Tuesday that it would close another 13 stores. JCPenney filed for bankruptcy last month and is slowly moving toward its goal of closing 250 stores, about 30% of its network of 846 locations.

It is unclear how long the store will remain open inside the Sunvalley Mall, but company spokeswoman Kristen Bennett said the store’s closing sales were expected to start around July 3. The decision is pending judicial approval.

Mall spokeswoman Maria Mainville said Tuesday that no decision has been made on the space to be filled.

JCPenney previously said it expected 200 of its closings to occur later this summer, and that the remaining 50 will close next summer.

Seven of the last 13 stores to be chosen for closure are in Michigan. Two others are in Washington, two in New York and one in Maryland.

Before Tuesday’s announcement, 136 stores had already started clearance sales. That included a JCPenney inside the West Valley Mall in Tracy.

Store closing sales are vital for bankrupt retailers to raise cash during a court-supervised reorganization. With the pandemic that kept many stores closed in late March and throughout April, some bankruptcy applications were delayed due to the inability to maintain these sales.

But it is unclear how successful sales will be, as many shoppers are still reluctant to venture into stores and others are cutting back on purchases as job losses have hit a record high in recent months.

JCPenney is the largest national retailer to file for bankruptcy following the pandemic, along with J. Crew and Neiman Marcus.

However, all three companies said they intend to stay in business. The bankruptcy process allows companies to get rid of debts and other liabilities that they can no longer pay.

The process can give a company a second chance at life. Some companies that filed for bankruptcy in recent decades, including General Motors and many of the country’s airlines, actually posted record profits after emerging from bankruptcy.

But not all companies filing for Chapter 11 that plan to stay in business can ultimately do so. Pier 1, which filed for bankruptcy on February 17, before stay-at-home orders that closed many stores across the country, has since said it will permanently close all of its stores and close its businesses.