J. C. Penney is closing 33 stores, including five in Wisconsin. The struggling national retailer is closing stores in Fond Du Lac, Janesville, Rhinelander, Rice Lake and Wausau. They’re among those described as underperforming. The closings, announced Wednesday as part of turnaround efforts, are expected result in the elimination of approximately 2,000 positions in 20 states. The company’s press release says the closings will allow J.C. Penney to focus its resources on the highest potential growth opportunities.

The actions are expected to result in an annual cost savings of approximately $65 million, beginning in 2014. The retailer has 116,000 staffers, and all the job cuts are related to the store closings. Remaining inventory in the affected stores will be sold over the next several months, with final closings expected to be complete by early May.


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