Hammered by internet, US chain closing 140 stores

Customers ride the escalator at a JC Penney store in New York City. (Reuters Photo)

One of the largest department store chains in the United States plans to close 14% of its stores as shoppers are increasingly deserting malls to buy online.

JC Penney Co announced on Friday that it would shutter 140 of its 1,000-plus stores and trim about 6,000 jobs through early retirement, as it seeks to adjust to a world of lower mall traffic and fierce online competition.

While the closings represent 14% of the company’s store base they account for about 5% of its total sales, the Texas-based chain said. The moves, which also include shutting two distribution centers, will save about $200 million a year.

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