Since J.C. Penney Company, Inc. announced it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week, questions and rumors about the future of local stores have swirled nationwide.

In an exclusive report earlier this month, Reuters wrote that the retail giant is planning to permanently close more than 200 of its 850 stores, and although that figure has yet to be independently confirmed, the company did say in a press release announcing its bankruptcy plan that some stores will close as it restructures.

"As part of its ongoing transformation, JCPenney will reduce its store footprint to better align its business with the current operating environment," a spokesperson said in the release. "Stores will close in phases throughout the Chapter 11 process – and the first phase of closures, including specific store details and timing, will be disclosed in the coming weeks."

When Townsquare Media Tuscaloosa reached out to the company's press office, a spokesperson said they could not yet disclose the fate of the Tuscaloosa store in the University Mall.

"It is still early in the process," The spokesperson said. "We don’t have a list to share of the stores impacted by the restructuring, nor have we announced any closures at this time."

Still, there are some good omens about the local retailer -- the phone number for the Tuscaloosa store still rings through, although merely to an automated message that they are temporarily closed.

Perhaps a surer sign of the company planning to continue operations in the Druid City, at least for the short term, are job listings on JCPenney's own website. Posts seeking to hire cashiers, operations associates and Sephora Beauty advisors were updated as recently as this Monday, May 18th.

Still, no locations in the state of Alabama were listed on the company's directory of stores that have reopened after COVID-19 forced their closure, and the ultimate fate of the Tuscaloosa store remains unknown.

Stay tuned to this site and station for more information as it becomes available.

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