Columbus Gets Mixed Results in JC Penney Restructuring

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Columbus looks to both suffer and gain from new plans announced by retail giant JC Penney.

Under the plans unveiled Monday, Penney’s executives say they’re moving more resources toward online customers. That means over the next two years closing all 19 of the company’s outlet stores, including the one on Columbus’ east side, and phasing out the entire catalog operation.

Another element of the shift toward the Web means consolidating five call centers into three, but that means more jobs for the Columbus call center that now shares a building with the outlet store.

Speaking in a conference call, JC Penney CEO Mike Ullman did not give details on how many jobs would be lost, but he said the shift does mean an overall reduction in staff.

“These decisions, due to the impact on our associates, are difficult to make. We’re committed to treating them fairly and helping them identify other job opportunities, in addition to providing severance benefits,” Ullman says.

Ullman says the changes will cost JC Penney about $50 million to put into place, but should save the company about $30 million a year beginning in 2012.