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JCPenney won't close El Con store

Department store JCPenney announced that it will shutter 138 stores across the country., but while the location at Tucson's El Con Mall is among the retail chain's worst performing shops, that store won't be closed. The only Arizona store on the shut-down list is in Bullhead City.

The company recently announced that it would shutter about 13 percent of its locations nationwide, and then released the list of closures on Friday. The El Con store, 3601 E. Broadway, was on a list of the 39 that were most likely to be closed, according to an analysis by Morningstar Credit Ratings.

"Nearly all impacted stores are expected to close in the second quarter of 2017," company representatives said. Liquidation sales will begin at the stores to be closed on April 17, with most of them shut by mid-June.

The company will also offer buyouts to about 6,000 workers at the stores that will remain open.

"We believe closing stores will also allow us to adjust our business to effectively compete against the growing threat of online retailers. Maintaining a large store base gives us a competitive advantage in the evolving retail landscape since our physical stores are a destination for personalized beauty offerings, a broad array of special sizes, affordable private brands and quality home goods and services," said company CEO Marvin Ellison in a written statement last month.

The stores to be closed account for less than 5 percent of JCPenney's annual sales, and are each losing money, the company said.

Morningstar had pointed to nearly 40 stores, including El Con, that generate less revenue per square foot than the retail chain's average.

The sole Arizona store on the closing list is in Riverview Mall in Bullhead City.

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The El Con location was part of a return to the major home appliance business for Penney's last year, with about 500 stores nationwide selling refrigerators, stoves, washers and dryers and dishwashers. The department store had exited that market segment about 30 years ago.

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