The company also plans to close two of its distribution facilities, including one in Lakeland, Fla.
“As a result of the store actions, JCPenney will close a distribution center located in Lakeland, Fla. in early June, at which time operations will transfer to the Company’s logistics facility in Atlanta as part of a strategic effort to streamline store support services,” JCPenney said in a news release posted on its website.
Nearly all impacted stores are expected to close in the second quarter of the year.
JCPenney said it would release its list of stores slated for closure in mid-March. The company has two locations in Palm Beach County — one in the Mall at Wellington Green and another at the Boynton Beach Mall.
“We believe closing stores will also allow us to adjust our business to effectively compete against the growing threat of online retailers,” Marvin R. Ellison, chairman and chief executive officer of JCPenney, said in a statement released by the company. “Maintaining a large store base gives us a competitive advantage in the evolving retail landscape since our physical stores are a destination for personalized beauty offerings, a broad array of special sizes, affordable private brands and quality home goods and services. It is essential to retain those locations that present the best expression of the JCPenney brand and function as a seamless extension of the omnichannel experience through online order fulfillment, same-day pick up, exchanges and returns.”
RootMetrics tested 373 indoor locations across the state, analyzing the reliability and speed of each of the four major carriers. In all, the firm said it preformed more than 265,000 tests in the state in order to compile scores for the second half of 2016.
Verizon scored 97.1, followed by AT&T’s 94.4. Sprint took the third spot with 91.7 and T-Mobile came in last with a sore of 89.3.
Verizon also took top honors on a national level. AT&T took the No. 2 spot, followed by Sprint and T-Mobile.
Verizon said it invested $268 million in 2016 to improve its network in Florida, including the addition of 77 new macro cell sites and 149 new small cells — radio, antenna, power and a fiber connection that are strategically positioned on street lights, sides of buildings or other structures.
“Financial security continues to be top-of-mind for all Americans, and consumers are hanging on to their tax refunds tighter than ever,” said the federation’s President and CEO Matthew Shay . “Consumers are leveraging their tax returns to build up their savings, but that’s good news in the long run because money saved today is money that can be spent down the road, particularly during the back-to-school and holiday seasons later this year.”
Only 20.9 percent of consumers will spend their refunds on everyday expenses, 8.7 percent will use them for major purchases such as a television, furniture or a car, and 7.6 percent will splurge on special treats like dining out, apparel or spa visits — the lowest levels in the survey’s history, the federation said.
About 35 percent of consumers will use the money to pay down debt, up from 34.9 percent last year but far below the peak of 48 percent seen in 2009, the federation said.
Cable giant Comcast has launched a new feature in its mobile app that allows customers to more closely monitor service appointments by pinpointing when a technician is en-route to their home.
The feature, called “Tech ETA,” will notify customers with an estimated 30-minute window in which the technician is expected to arrive as well as the worker’s name and photo.
In its announcement about the new feature, Comcast officials said the company has reduced appointment windows from 4 to 2 hours as part of an effort to reduce the amount of time customers spend waiting for technicians. The company said its on-time arrival rate for appointments stood at 97 percent at the end of last year.
Customers can access Tech ETA on the My Account Android and iOS app.
Retail sales are expected to grow by as much as 4.2 percent this year, but shoppers will be “hesitant” to spend until they have more certainty about federal policy changes, the National Retail Federation said Wednesday.
The trade group said it expects retail sales, excluding automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants, to grow between 3.7 and 4.2 percent over 2016’s level. Although consumer strength is strong, the federation warned that consumers are concerned about policy changes on taxes and trade.
“The economy is on firm ground as we head into 2017 and is expected to build on the momentum we saw late last year,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “With jobs and income growing and debt relatively low, the fundamentals are in place and the consumer is in the driver’s seat. But this year is unlike any other – while consumers have strength they haven’t had in the past, they will remain hesitant to spend until they have more certainty about policy changes on taxes, trade and other issues being debated in Congress.”
“Lawmakers should take note and stand firm against any policies, rules or regulations that would increase the cost of everyday goods for American consumers,” Shay warned.
Online sales and other non-store purchases are expected to help drive this year’s rise, growing between 8 and 12 percent, the federation said.
“It is clear that online sales will continue to expand in 2017 and provide growth for the retail industry,” said Jack Kleinhenz, the federation’s chief economist. “But it is important to realize that virtually every major retailer sells online and many of those sales will be made by discount stores, department stores and other traditional retailers. Retailers sell to consumers however they want to buy, whether it’s in-store, online or mobile.”