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Duluth J.C. Penney to remain open amid company's bankruptcy

Four other stores in Minnesota will close.

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JCPenney announced 154 stores will be closing due to bankruptcy. Stores in Duluth and Grand Rapids will remain open. (Tyler Schank / tschank@duluthnews.com)

The J.C. Penney stores in Duluth and Grand Rapids will remain open, as the retailer announced a list of store closures connected to its bankruptcy filing.

Numerous news outlets reported on Thursday that 154 of the 850 J.C. Penney stores would close as part of the company's bankruptcy plan, which it filed for on May 15. Four stores are closing in Minnesota: Coon Rapids, Eden Prairie, Maple Grove and Willmar.

Sales in the retail industry fell 16.4% in April β€” the steepest drop on record. Sales at clothing stores sales were down 89% from a year ago, according to Commerce Department data reported by The Washington Post .

Like most retailers, the company was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. It temporarily closed all of its stores and furloughed most of its 90,000 employees, the Post reports.

J.C. Penney hasn't turned a profit since 2010 and has around $4 million in debt, according to the Post.

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β€œWhile closing stores is always an extremely difficult decision, our store optimization strategy is vital to ensuring we emerge from both Chapter 11 and the COVID-19 pandemic as a stronger retailer with greater financial flexibility to allow us to continue serving our loyal customers for decades to come,” CEO Jill Soltau wrote in a statement.

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