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https://www.wsj.com/articles/j-c-penney-pinched-by-coronavir...

Penney’s sales, which totaled $10.7 billion in the most recent fiscal year, have fallen each year since 2015, and it hasn’t made an annual profit in nearly a decade. The company skipped two interest payments in recent weeks, setting the clock on a bankruptcy filing.

The 118-year-old Penney is the latest American retailer to seek bankruptcy protection as the rise of fast-fashion, off-price chains like T.J. Maxx and e-commerce giants such as Amazon.com Inc. win over younger shoppers. Other chains like Gap Inc. and Nordstrom Inc. have recently raised billions in debt to ensure they have the cash to weather the crisis and reopen stores.

Department stores have been particularly hard hit by the changes. Stage Stores, which operates the Gordmans, Bealls and Goody’s chains in mostly rural towns, is liquidating hundreds of stores when they reopen this month and looking for a buyer. Both Macy’s Inc. and Nordstrom are closing some flagship stores.

Like its rival, Sears Holdings Corp., Penney for decades was a one-stop shop for millions of middle-class families, offering clothes, appliances, gardening equipment, portrait studios and beauty salons. At one point, it owned a bank and the Eckerd drugstore chain. It was a fixture in American shopping malls and at its peak in the 1970s operated more than 1,600 stores.

Penney listed assets of about $8.6 billion and debts of more than $8 billion in its chapter 11 petition filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Corpus Christi.
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