JCPenney to close Racine store

The JCPenney store at Regency Mall in Racine will close during the first quarter of 2015, a spokesman for the company said today.

“As we continue our turnaround, an important part of our work is identifying opportunities that enable JCPenney to maximize long-term growth and profitability. Doing so is essential to meeting our long-term goals for future company growth. While it’s never an easy decision to close stores, especially due to the impact on our valued associates and customers, we feel this is a necessary business decision,” said JCPenney spokesman Joey Thomas.

The company has no plans to close other stores in Wisconsin, Thomas said.

The JCPenney store closure is another major blow for Regency Mall, which lost its Sears store that closed in Janaury.

Plano, Texas-based J.C. Penney recently sold the Regency Mall store property to an affiliate of Northbrook, Ill.-based Learsi & Co. Inc.

Learsi & Co. president David Israel said he did not know if JCPenney planned to close the store. If the store closure does occur, he said. Learsi & Co. will work to redevelop the space, likely splitting it up into smaller retail spaces.

Despite JCPenney’s plans to close the store, Learsi likes its location in the mall at the corner of Green Bay Road and Durand Avenue, Israel said.

“We think it’s the best real estate on the mall,” he said. “It’s the best corner. It’s right at the heart of all of the other retail (in Racine).”

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