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JC Penney to lay off 900

JC Penney announced today that it has laid off 600 workers and will dismiss 300 more employees in July.

Jc penney 2012 04 05Enlarge
Clothes on sale at a JC Penney store in the North Riverside Park Mall in North Riverside, Ill., on Feb. 1, 2012. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Mid-priced department store JC Penney announced today that it has laid off 600 workers and will dismiss 300 more employees in July, the Associated Press reported.

Today’s pink-slipped staffers worked at the company’s Plano, Texas, headquarters, according to the AP. Their departure shrinks HQ by 15 percent. Penney said it the other 300 job cuts will occur at its customer call center in Pittsburgh when it closes on July 1. The retailer currently has about 136,000 full- and part-time workers, according to Reuters.

“We are going to operate like a start-up,” chief executive Ron Johnson said in a press release today, the AP reported. “We are going to be nimble, quick to learn, quicker to react and totally committed to realizing our vision to become America’s favorite store.” Johnson is a former Apple Inc. and Target Corp. executive who became JC Penney CEO last November.

According to Reuters:

In February, Penney ended a longtime practice of marking up prices and then discounting them to entice shoppers to buy on sale. Now, it keeps prices low from the start and holds twice-monthly sales to clear out out-of-season merchandise.

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In January, the retailer said it was working to shrink annual expenses by $900 million by the end of 2013, Reuters reported. Chief Operating Officer Mike Kramer said the company could save $90 million a year with a leaner operation at its headquarters.

JC Penney also wants to cut $400 million from store operations and trim advertising by $300 million, the AP reported.

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