J.C. Penney closing local stores; includes King of Prussia

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J.C. Penney released the list of 138 stores set to close nationwide, which includes four in our area. (WPVI)

It didn't take long for bargain hunters to show up at J.C. Penney at Philadelphia Mills looking for going-out-of-business sales.

The Northeast Philadelphia store is among those slated to close this spring due to poor sales. The announcement saddened loyal shoppers.

"We're going to miss 'em. I shop here all the time," said Patricia Blythe of Northeast Philadelphia.

"It's a shame its closing. Been around for a long time. Probably going to miss it," said Nancy Haye of Mayfair.

It been a rough year for traditional department stores.

"It's a retail model that doesn't work," said Dr. Michael Solomon, St Joseph's University.

The marketing professor says J.C. Penney, like many department stores, failed to innovate.

And it's not just online shopping that's to blame.

Off-price retailers like Nordstrom Rack and so-called fast-fashion stores like Primark have learned to give customers what they want.

"They can go in once a week or even every few days and literally see new stuff on the shelves and, especially for young people, that's really important," said Solomon. "So J.C. Penney has not been able to compete because they have a traditional business model."

So will ecommerce kill off our malls' brick and mortar stores? Solomon says not entirely. He says moving forward, successful retailers will have to give shoppers something they can't order at home - an experience or entertainment.

"Stores that offer, for example, cooking classes or Build-A-Bear Workshop or the American Girl kind of phenomenon, those stores have a real future because they allow people to do two things at once," said Solomon.

J.C. Penney released the list of 138 stores set to close nationwide, which includes four in our area.

Those stores are located in the following locations:

Pennsylvania:

- King of Prussia Mall
- Willow Grove Park Mall
- Philadelphia Mills Mall
New Jersey:
- Rio Grande Plaza

LINK: See the full list of store closures here

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