McAllen downtown J.C. Penney won’t close as soon as expected

McALLEN — The downtown McAllen J.C. Penney store is one of 138 stores which the company will delay the earlier announced closing.

The company said Friday that more shoppers have visited the stores after it announced last month which locations were closing. J.C. Penney spokesman Joey Thomas says that’s common, and cited reasons including “curiosity, nostalgia and the lure of lower prices.”

The stores will now shut down on July 31 instead of in mid-June. Liquidation sales will start at those stores on May 22 instead of April 17.

The closures are part of Penney’s plan to focus on its best-performing stores.

Penney, whose sales growth stalled last year, leaving its total revenue still well below 2012 levels before it embarked on a disastrous reinvention, had this winter slated the stores, mostly in small markets and in dying malls, for closing. The retailer said it wanted to focus on stores with greatest potential to see a bounce from its efforts to kickstart growth such as expanding Sephora beauty shops, remodeling its hair salons and its upcoming home improvement services.

Penney’s will still have five locations in the Rio Grande Valley — McAllen at La Plaza Mall, Edinburg, Harlingen, Brownsville and Weslaco.

J.C. Penney Co., based in Plano, Texas, will operate about 900 stores after the closures.