We reported on J.C. Penney’s ($JCP) struggles to survive back in February, before the Coronavirus pandemic fully uprooted American life and business. The retailer had already announced six store closings for 2020 along with falling sales and looming debt. Now, JCP is barely treading water.

Last week, the company chose not to make a roughly $12 million interest payment that was due. JCP has now entered a 30-day grace period “in order to evaluate certain strategic alternatives, none of which have been implemented at this time.” If the company refuses to pay, it could result in bankruptcy.

At the end of March, J.C. Penney announced that its stores would remain closed for the forseeable future and a "signification portion" of store employees and corporate associates would be furloughed in April, Business Insider reports. Supply chain and logistic center workers were furloughed on March 20. 

J.C. Penney has slashed job postings by 18% since February. 

The company's LinkedIn employee headcount is starting to drop for the first time, although the overall recorded number has yet to be affected.

According to our data, General Growth Properties holds the lease on 75 J.C. Penney locations, Macerich has another 27, and Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust has another 13. GCP could lose a lot of income if JCP isn’t able to pay rent.

J.C. Penney’s stock, trading around 25 cents, was down about 22% last week. Penney has a market cap of about $79.7 million. Its shares have fallen 77% in 2020.

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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