J.C. Penney Co. Inc. has closed all 10 of The Foundry Big & Tall Supply Co. stores, including four in the Kansas City area.
The Foundry locations were stand-alone men’s stores that were introduced in 2011. They catered to the big and tall customer.
In a statement, J.C. Penney spokesman Joey Thomas said: “We have closely monitored the performance of our Foundry business from its inception, learning how best to serve the big and tall shopper. Our analysis determined that we can streamline operations by closing stand-alone stores and expanding our big and tall merchandise assortment in the convenience of our existing JCPenney locations.”
If possible, eligible employees were relocated to JCPenney stores, the company said. Those who did not remain with the company received separation benefits, as well as an on-site career training class.
“While it’s never an easy decision to close stores, especially due to the impact on our valued associates and customers, we feel this is a necessary business decision” Thomas said in the statement. “There are currently no plans to close JCPenney stores in Kansas or Missouri.”
The company is in the process of updating and relocating nearly 980 big and tall departments in its stores, positioning them in prominent locations on the sales floor. The refurbished departments have been renamed The Foundry Big & Tall Supply Co., and feature updated graphics, fixtures, accent lighting and mannequins, without the need for actual construction.
The area JCPenney stores are scheduled to be updated with the new Foundry look this summer.
The retailer closed two stores in Overland Park, one in the Northland and one in Independence. The other six stores were located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Most of the stores closed on Jan. 17.
When the Foundry opened in Oak Park Mall in mid-2011, it was described as a “man cave in a store.” The men’s store had widescreen TVs, big brown leather lounge chairs, a Pac-Man video game — and a full line of men’s apparel and accessories for the big and tall set. Merchandise included tailored clothing, shoes, socks, underwear, and ties. Brands included Calvin Klein, Cole Haan, Nike and Dockers.
The Kansas City market was selected as one of the first markets because of the “great demographics” in the area, and because the region had survived the recession relatively well, Foundry officials said at the time.
“Big and tall” consumers make up more than 50 percent of the male population and spend about $6 billion annually on apparel, footwear and accessories, according to J.C. Penney’s research.
In 2011, plans called for 150 Foundry stores nationwide by 2013, and a total of 300 stores in five years.
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