Eddie Bauer, J.C. Penney Closing Stores

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Store closings at Eddie Bauer and J.C. Penney are expected to take place during the holiday season and early next year.

J.C. Penney Co., Plano, TX, in its Form 10-Q filed late Monday afternoon, said for the year it expects to close about 25 domestic department stores -- with 13 closed through its third quarter, which ended in October. It also opened six stores, including four relocations.

Also, on Dec. 1 it finalized the sale of its Mexico department store operation, which consisted of six stores. Including the 25 domestic stores and the six Mexico-based stores, square footage will be reduced about 1.8 million gross square feet in 2003. From 2000 through the end of 2003, it will have closed about 10 percent of its department stores and reduced square footage by about 10 million square feet.

A report quoted a company spokesperson as saying that the stores being closed are in Kansas, Texas, Michigan, Ohio, Missouri, California and Oklahoma.

In other news, Spiegel Inc., Downers Grove, IL, filed a motion Friday in bankruptcy court to close about 30 Eddie Bauer stores. Company spokesperson Debbie Koopman said 18 of the stores are involved in "natural lease expirations."

The stores will begin closing in January.

"We haven't identified the location of the stores," she said. "The list has not been finalized."

The final list will be provided by Dec. 30.

Sixty Eddie Bauer stores were closed earlier this year.

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