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Hibbing J.C. Penney store to close

A J.C. Penney store on the Iron Range is among nearly 140 that will be closing this year nationwide, the retail chain announced Friday. The store at Irongate Plaza in Hibbing is one of eight Minnesota stores that will be closed as the company see...

A J.C. Penney store on the Iron Range is among nearly 140 that will be closing this year nationwide, the retail chain announced Friday.

The store at Irongate Plaza in Hibbing is one of eight Minnesota stores that will be closed as the company seeks “to advance sustainable growth and long-term profitability,” according to a news release from the troubled retailer.

The other Minnesota stores to be closed are in Baxter, Fairmont, Faribault, Hutchinson, Red Wing, Thief River Falls and Winona.

Four Wisconsin stores are slated to close, in Marinette, Marshfield, Richland Center and Wisconsin Rapids, along with four stores in Michigan's Upper Peninsula: Escanaba, Houghton, Kingsford and Sault Ste. Marie.

Most closings will take place in June with liquidation beginning April 17, according to the announcement.

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Nationwide, the closings will affect about 5,000 jobs, the company said.

The closure of the Hibbing store will leave the store at Duluth’s Miller Hill Mall as the last remaining J.C. Penney in the Northland.

A J.C. Penney store in Rice Lake, Wis., closed in 2014, and the Ashland store closed in 2012. The J.C. Penney store at Superior's Mariner Mall closed in 1999.

The latest round of closures comes after the company announced last month a bigger-than-expected drop in same-store sales for the holiday quarter, citing weak demand and competition from online retailers

J.C. Penney said the stores being closed represent less than 5 percent of annual sales.

The move - and the holiday financial results -  have underscored the brick-and-mortar retail industry's struggles to overcome a drop in traffic in malls and a shift towards online shopping.

To save cash, retailers have been cutting costs and looking to make more money from their sprawling real estate assets. Rival Macy's recently announced it was closing 100 stores and exploring deals with other retailers to lease parts of its stores.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Related Topics: IRON RANGEHIBBINGRETAIL
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