JC Penny closing Lakeland distribution center

- The clock is ticking for JC Penney’s distribution center in Lakeland. 

It’s set to close along with 130 to 140 of the chain’s brick and mortar retail stores across the country.

The company made the announcement Friday.

The CEO said, “We believe closing stores will also allow us to adjust our business to effectively compete against the growing threat of online retailers.”

FOX 13 Consumer Reporter Sorboni Banerjee calls this the “Amazon Effect.”

“People are going online to shop because we're busy, we want what we want when we want.  It is essentially an on-demand culture,” Banerjee said.

JC Penney says it will give affected employees, like those at the distribution center, separation benefits, which includes help finding other job opportunities. JC Penney will also offer buyouts to some 6,000 of its workers.  

The Lakeland Ledger reports the center employs 80 to 100 people. It hasn’t said yet how many employees in total could lose their jobs.

Lakeland Mayor, R. Howard Wiggs believes the distribution center will be active again soon.

“That won’t stay vacant. Lakeland is on the move. There's momentum. Someone will fill in that space,” he said.

As for JC Penney’s stores, the company says it won’t announce which ones will be closing until mid-march.  There are 13 in the Tampa Bay area.

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