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J.C. Penney to close 40 stores, but none so far in California

J.C. Penney to close about 4% of its stores

Beleaguered retailer J.C. Penney said Thursday it is closing about 40 stores as the chain seeks to turn around its fortunes.

The Plano, Texas-based company said the stores, which represent about 4% of its 1,020 locations, will be closed "on or about" April 4. None of the stores listed so far is in California.

"While it's never an easy decision to close stores ... this was made after a careful analysis of store performance and future strategic fit for the company," J.C. Penney said in a statement.

The chain said it would try to help the 2,250 employees who will be affected by the closings to find jobs at other J.C. Penney stores. Those who can't find new jobs will receive separation benefits, the company said.

J.C. Penney has been struggling to turn around its business after an ill-fated effort led by former CEO and Apple alumni Ron Johnson alienated shoppers and sent sales plunging. Johnson was ousted after less than two years at the helm, and the chain brought back former CEO Mike Ulman to try to whip it back into shape.

There are some signs that shoppers are coming back.

This week, J.C. Penney said same-store sales, which are considered a key indicator of retail health, climbed 3.7% during November and December.

Shares of J.C. Penney dropped 1 cent, or 0.2%, to $7.88 in midday trading on Wall Street on Thursday.

Follow Shan Li on Twitter @ByShanLi

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