J.C. Penney to shut 40 stores and cut 2,250 jobs

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NEW YORK — J.C. Penney Co. said it will close about 40 stores this year and cut about 2,250 jobs as it tries to improve its profitability.

Most of the stores, located in malls around the country, will close by April 4. The Plano, Texas, company runs about 1,060 stores.

Among the stores to be closed are two in Illinois — in DeKalb and Quincy — and one in Michigan City, Indiana.

The announcement Thursday comes two days after J.C. Penney reported a rise in sales during the critical holiday shopping season, an encouraging sign as the company tries to recover from a botched plan to reinvent itself under former CEO Ron Johnson. It has tapped a new CEO, former Home Depot executive Marvin Ellison, who will replace current CEO Mike Ullman in August. Ullman was rehired as CEO in April 2013 after retiring from the top job in 2011.

J.C. Penney said all employees at stores being closed will be offered career training classes, including help writing resumes and filling out applications. The company said that some employees are eligible to receive separation benefits.

Last January, the company announced plans to close about 33 stores and cut about 2,000 jobs.

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