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Manchester J.C. Penney store spared from closing

Staff Report
March 17. 2017 11:33AM
Shoppers come and go in February at J.C. Penney at the Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester. A Morningstar Credit Rating report said the Manchester store was at risk of closing based on below-average sales, but no New Hampshire stores ended up on J.C. Penney’s closure list. (UNION LEADER FILE)

MANCHESTER — The Queen City was spared in J.C. Penney’s announcement Friday identifying the 138 stores it plans to close, marking the second time in recent months an anchor at the Mall of New Hampshire survived a major retail closure despite being labeled as “high risk” in an analyst report.

No New Hampshire stores ended up on J.C. Penney’s closure list.

Earlier this month, Morningstar Credit Ratings included the Mall of New Hampshire among 39 J.C. Penney locations it said were at most risk of closing, based on below-average sales.

In August, Morningstar included the Macy’s store at the Mall of New Hampshire as one of 28 at high risk of closing, but that location also was spared when Macy’s announced in January which stores it would close.

Last month, J.C. Penney announced it would close about 13 percent of its 1,014 locations, saying those locations were unprofitable.

The company operates nine stores in the Granite State, but only the Mall of New Hampshire location was among those identified in the Morningstar report. J.C. Penney’s other New Hampshire stores are in Concord, Nashua, Rochester, Salem, Newington, Keene, North Conway and West Lebanon.

The Manchester, Nashua, Newington and Salem stores are located in shopping malls owned by Simon, a real estate investment trust based in Indianapolis that owns or has interest in 229 retail centers nationwide, including the Premium Outlets in Merrimack.

The Mall of New Hampshire, Pheasant Lane in Nashua, the Mall at Fox Run in Newington and the Mall at Rockingham Park in Salem also have J.C. Penney, Sears and Macy’s as anchor tenants. Sears also has announced plans to close dozens of stores.

J.C. Penney said the closings will eliminate 5,000 positions and that the stores will close in June. Friday’s closure list included stores at the Berkshire Mall in Lanesborough, Mass., and the Rockland Plaza in Rockland, Maine. 

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