DALLAS — J.C. Penney said its stores are reopening at a faster pace now.
The Plano, Texas-based department store chain which filed for bankruptcy earlier this month, said Thursday it has opened 150 more stores for a total of 304 locations now open in 27 states.
And it plans to have 500 stores of its 846 stores open by Wednesday.
A request to the chain’s corporate office in regard to stores in Cedar Rapids, Coralville and elsewhere in Iowa were not answered by deadline. The Westdale Town Center store in Cedar Rapids offers curbside pickup.
The company hasn’t disclosed which stores it plans to close as part of its bankruptcy reorganization but did say in preliminary business plan that more than 200 stores could be closed permanently.
Penney and most retailers started slowly reopening stores in early May, some with just curbside service of online purchases.
All its stores temporarily were closed since mid-March, sending the retailer, which had been trying to refinancing its debt and had made some progress on its turnaround, into bankruptcy court.
Penney is requiring its employees to wear protective gear and is providing them with masks and gloves.
Store shifts also are being staggered to minimize employee contact and to clean stores more often.
Reopening apparel and department stores have followed the lead of grocery stores, which stayed open throughout the pandemic stay-at-home period.
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Penney has added Plexiglass shields to its checkout areas and contactless checkout from customers’ phones via bar codes.
Wednesday and Friday from 11 a.m. to noon is reserved for at-risk customers such as senior citizens, pregnant women and others with health concerns.
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