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JCPenney closure brings new opportunities to Shawnee Mall

By Kelci McKendrick - kmckendrick@news-star.com
Shawnee Mall location

With the closure of JCPenney, the Shawnee Mall is looking forward to what’s in store next for the space.

On May 15, JCPenney Co., Inc., announced it filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code to help stabilize finances, and on June 4, the retailer announced its first wave of closing sales of 152 stores, including the Shawnee Mall location.

The mall’s JCPenney, along with five other Oklahoma locations, started closing sales on June 12, which are expected to last from 10 to 16 weeks, and the mall is optimistically planning for the future.

“The mall is saddened to see such a long-term tenant close their doors, but we are looking at this as an opportunity to breathe new life into the space,” Anthony Giannini, chief operating officer of the mall, said in an email.

Giannini said the mall has been planning to replace JC Penney for a long time.

“(JCPenney) has been struggling for years,” Giannini said in the email. “Sales have been low at our center and for JCP stores across the board, and we are excited to replace JCP with a new, more vibrant store, or we might divide the space into two or three junior anchors.”

The leasing team at the mall has started conversations about bringing in new prospects once the space clears out, but no announcements have been made at this time.

JCPenney has not yet announced when the stores will permanently close. As the department nears the closing date, price cuts will increase, Giannini said in the email.