The coronavirus could prove to be the final straw for JC Penney - and could mean another empty store at Central New York malls.

JC Penney, which is a major anchor store at both Sangertown Square in New Hartford, and Destiny USA in Syracuse, and has a location at Freedom Plaza in Rome, is set to file for bankruptcy this week after missing two multi-million dollar debt payments.

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The 118-year-old retailer has accrued over $4 billion (yes, billion with a B) in debt as it tries to keep the company afloat. JC Penney employs 85,000 people and has roughly 850 stores across the US. Even before coronavirus hit the retail sector, the company had been struggling to keep up with online competition from Amazon and discount retailers like TJ Maxx and Marshalls.

Reuters reports as part of bankruptcy plans being considered, JC Penney would close 200 stores, and split into two companies: one would hold the company's real estate and the other would control the retail business.

JC Penney has not released a list of stores it plans to close. 

Retail has suffered under the coronavirus lockdowns. J.Crew and luxury retailer Neiman Marcus have both filed for bankruptcy in recent weeks.


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