Bartlesville mall loses another anchor store; J.C. Penney will close its location in May

BARTLESVILLE, Okla. -- A mall in Green Country may struggle to navigate the choppy waters of retail now, as it loses another of its anchor stores. 

J.C. Penney announced that it will close its location at the Washington Park Mall in Bartlesville. 

A statement from J.C. Penney read that it made the "difficult" decision to close the store because of the "Company's ongoing efforts to achieve sustainable growth and long-term profitability." 

The store will begin its liquidation on March 5, and shoppers can keep visiting the store until it officially closes on May 12. 

J.C. Penney plans to relocate some of its employees to other stores and offer those who will be laid off training and support to find new jobs outside the company. 

News of the closure saddened local leaders at city hall. 

"While it is a Bartlesville impact, it's not a Bartlesville issue," David Wood, president of the Bartlesville Development Authority, said. "This has been going on nationally, and we're sorry that it finally arrived here." 

Washington Park Mall has struggled to keep stores. About half the spaces inside the mall are reportedly empty, and it lost another anchor store, Sears, in 2016. However, by this spring, the space Sears once occupied will be home to Dunham's Sports. 

Despite the closures, Rouse Properties, the company that owns the mall, expressed little concern about the mall's future. It wrote in a statement: "As one of the country's largest shopping center owners, we have a successful track record of filling vacant spaces with a variety of prominent high-volume retailers of all types. We plan to do the same with the vacated J.C. Penney's box at Washington Park Mall, as we are committed to the success of this property." 

Online shopping has drained a lot of business for malls in recent years. It's telling then that the statement from J.C. Penney encourages shoppers to visit its website once the Bartlesville store closes. 

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