JC Penney closing in North Hills, marking an end of an era at Raleigh shopping center

J.C. Penney, the longest-running tenant in North Hills shopping center, is set to close its doors after more than 50 years, a department store spokesperson confirmed Friday.

The department store likely will not close until at least spring of 2020, spokeswoman Kristen Bennett wrote in an email to The News & Observer.

J.C. Penney opened its North Hills location in 1967 as one of the shopping mall’s anchors. It was the lone department store to stay open and survive the North Hills transformation as Kane Realty turned the enclosed mall into an open shopping center with upscale retailers and restaurants in 2004.

“This decision is the result of an ongoing review of our store portfolio, which includes assessing locations that may not meet our required financial targets or represent an opportunity to capitalize on a beneficial real estate asset,” Bennett wrote.

J.C. Penney also shuttered its store at Cary Towne Center in May following an annual review of the store’s performance.

When the Raleigh store closes, the retailer will have only one remaining Triangle location, at Streets of Southpoint in Durham.

For a time, the North Hills location was one of Penney’s highest-performing locations. In 1997, The News & Observer reported the store had the second-highest women’s dress sales of any J.C. Penney location, out-pacing both the Cary and Durham locations and excelling even as sales faltered across the chain.

J.C. Penney was also one of the few stores to find success at the then-struggling North Hills mall, even as other tenants moved — frequently, the News & Observer reported, to Cameron Village and the newer Crabtree Valley Mall a few miles away.

The number of employees affected by the closure isn’t known, but Bennett said those who do not transfer to another location will be eligible for a free class offering resume writing tips, guidance on answering interview questions and other career training.

“It’s never easy taking actions that directly impact our valued associates and customers,” Bennett wrote. “However we feel this is a necessary business decision.”

The Associated Press reported last week that J.C. Penney will partner with thredUP to sell used clothing. ThredUp is a website where people can buy and sell clothes online, The AP reports. J.C. Penney will open threadUP shop in 30 stores soon.

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Adam Wagner is a Report for America Corps member covering North Carolina’s recovery from Hurricanes Matthew and Florence, as well as efforts to prepare the state for future storms. He previously worked at the Wilmington StarNews, where he covered multiple beats, including the environment.