J.C. Penney has been a fixture in Waterloo for nearly 90 years. Come April, the national retailer will disappear from the Cedar Valley's landscape.

Closing the Waterloo store at Crossroads Center is part of a strategy to turn around the company's bottom-line. J.C. Penney plans to close 40 outlets in 19 states this spring, a move that will cut as many as 2,250 jobs nationwide. The news was announced by corporate executives today (Thursday, January 8, 2015).

Waterloo is one of three Iowa cities where stores are being closed. JC Penney also plans to shut down operations in Mason City and West Burlington.

The retailer said in an email statement that J.C. Penney will attempt to find jobs at other locations for the nearly 2,200 associates who work at the effected stores and offer separation benefits for those who leave the chain. The Waterloo store currently employs about 80 people.

J.C. Penney has been located at Crossroads Center for 45 years and is one of the mall's original tenants. The long-time downtown retailer moved to the brand-new shopping outlet when the mall opened in 1969.

The company opened its first store in downtown Waterloo in 1926. It's first location was on the east-side of the Cedar River near where Regions Bank is now. In 1944, J.C. Penney moved to an eight-story downtown building on the city's west-side, the current site of the Ramada Hotel. The retailer was in operation there for 25 years.

Now, J.C. Penney is preparing to leave the Cedar Valley. The 70,000-square-foot store at Crossroads Center is expected to close by April 4th, company officials said.

Today's announcement comes two days after J.C. Penney reported a rise in sales during the critical holiday shopping season, an encouraging sign for a company trying to recover from a botched plan to reinvent itself. Two years ago, the failed reinvention effort sent J.C. Penney's revenue tumbling to the lowest levels in decades.

Last January, the Plano, Texas-based company announced plans to close about 33 stores and cut approximately 2,000 jobs nationwide. This year, J.C. Penney is shuttering four-percent of its stores as executives work to restore profitability and sales growth to the company.

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