(CNN) — JCPenney filed for bankruptcy Friday. The coronavirus crisis was the final blow to a 118-year-old company struggling to overcome a decade of bad decisions, executive instability and damaging market trends.
The company said it has an agreement with most of its lenders on the turnaround plan that will allow it to stay in business as a more financially healthy company, but will include closing a yet unannounced number of its 846 stores. It as part of the turnaround process it had arranged to borrow an additional $450 million from those lenders to pay for operations during the reorganization.
The company blamed the Covid-19 pandemic for the need to file bankruptcy.
“Until this pandemic struck, we had made significant progress rebuilding our company under our Plan for Renewal strategy — and our efforts had already begun to pay off,” said CEO Jill Soltau. “Implementing this financial restructuring plan through a court-supervised process is the best path to ensure that JCPenney will build on its over 100-year history to serve our customers for decades to come.”
How the mighty have fallen
The company’s history began in 1902 with its first store in Kemmerer, Wyoming. It grew to become one of the major national retailers, an anchor of many suburban shopping malls along with rivals like Sears and Macy’s, which find themselves facing their own struggles today. JCPenney reached its peak number of stores in 1973, when it operated just over 2,0