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J. C. Penney CEO denies request to keep Butte store open

By Jacqueline Gedeon, KTVM Butte Reporter, jgedeon@ktvm.com
Published On: Feb 13 2014 09:34:30 PM MST
Updated On: Feb 13 2014 09:40:53 PM MST
BUTTE, Mont. -

J.C. Penney is responding to local efforts to save its Butte store.

The company announced last month the store was among some 30 planned to close. City leaders and the store scrambled, urging the company to reverse its decision.

Despite efforts made by the store and local community, J.C. Penney Corporation says it won't change course and the company still plans to shut down the Butte J.C. Penney store.

"Unfortunately, we received a letter from Mr. Ullman that said that even though it was a tough decision, the decision is not reversible," said Butte Local Development Corporation Executive Director Jim Smitham.

Smitham was one of the people, along with Butte-Silver Bow's Chief Executive and Chamber of Commerce, who sent a joint letter to J.C. Penney's CEO, Myron Ullman.

"Asking him for reconsideration for the closing of the Butte store," said Smitham.

In the letter, they explained that J.C. Penney's sales are increasing, along with the population and local economy.

"And also encouraged them to base their decision on the most recent sales information from the store," explained Smitham.

Smitham said it was disappointing when he learned the company's decision -- "Not only for the community but for the employees," he said.

Closing the store will put 32 people out work, but Smitham said now they are shifting the focus and looking at how to fill that space once Penney's closes its doors.

"We will carry on and we'll move forward and see if we can't bring in another department store to take their place," he said.

And he said they've already had some interest in the space.

The Butte J.C. Penney is one of 33 stores closing nationwide. The store will close its doors in May.