JCPenney has hired brokers to sell off 163 locations across the US as the department-store chain slashes its footprint and tries to emerge from bankruptcy

  • JCPenney is selling off the leases for 142 stores it occupies and 21 stores it owns across the country.
  • The dispositions are part of a plan by the bankrupt retailer to dramatically cull its portfolio of nearly 850 stores and cut costs.
  •  A person involved in the sale of the stores and leases said more locations could be offered to buyers in the coming months.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Bankrupt department-store chain JCPenney is trying sell off real estate as it navigates through Chapter 11 with a plan to emerge via a sale of the brand.

The company has hired Cushman & Wakefield and B. Riley Real Estate to market 21 stores it owns and the leases for another 142 stores across the country to potential buyers, according to marketing materials seen by Business Insider. 

"We have no comment on the stores or leases we're selling," a spokeswoman for JCPenney said. 

"There's all kinds of interest and there are some good properties here," said Jim Terrell, a principal at the real-estate services and brokerage firm B. Riley Real Estate. "There are residential investors who might redevelop these properties and there's storage players who could use them for logistics. And then you have retailers themselves who could occupy it."

JCPenney had previously stated it is closing 151 locations this year and 242 locations in total as part of its bankruptcy.

Michael Jerbich, B. Riley's president, who is working on the deals to dispose of the locations for the department-store brand, said the leased store locations would likely all be closed and sold off by the fall. Bids are due for the leases by mid-September.

The owned stores could take longer to sell, he said.

"The owned properties are still operating and their closing dates will vary, with some continuing to operate for some time while others could close sooner," Jerbich said.

Jerbich suggested that JCPenney could offer other locations among the nearly 850 stores it occupies for sale in the coming months.

"Although there aren't additional stores being offered for sale at this time, that could change as the process evolves," he said.

JCPenney's bankruptcy attorney this week said the company has received bids from interested buyers and that a sale could bring it out bankruptcy and put it back on a solid financial footing. Several buyers have been reported to be looking at the brand, including the private-equity firm Sycamore and even the e-commerce giant Amazon.

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