Area mall owner hopeful local J.C. Penney stores won't be on the closure list

Feb 24, 2017
Originally published on February 25, 2017 6:03 am

The company that owns the major shopping malls in the Rochester area remains upbeat about the ongoing presence of J.C. Penney, despite word that chain plans to close some stores across the country.

J.C. Penney has announced it will close 130 to 140 underperforming stores over the next few months. But just which ones will close hasn’t been released yet, that should happen in March after the company sees just how many employees take advantage of an early retirement program.

There are three Penneys in the Rochester area, including at Eastview, Greece Ridge and Marketplace malls, which are all owned by the Wilmorite corporation.

Wilmorite Senior Vice President of Leasing & Development, Dennis Wilmot, released a statement which said that based on their sales performance in the market, Wilmorite is hopeful that none of the three local  J.C. Penney stores will be closed. He says in contrast with many metropolitan areas around the country, the Rochester supply of commercial retail centers appears balanced.

Gene Fram, a retired RIT professor of Marketing says that nationwide there are too many retail stores for the population

“It’s a trend that the stores have to contend with, and the big question for all of them now is who can do it in an efficient manner, to survive at a lower retail volume and yet make a profit," Fram told WXXI News.

There have been other major retailers cutting back in recent months; some of that has been blamed on a shift to online shopping, but Fram also notes that only about 8 to 10 percent of all retail sales are done online, with the rest still done in traditional ways such as brick and mortar locations.