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Wenatchee Penney store survives nationwide closures

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Crowds stream in 2014 into a new cosmetics store inside Wenatchee's J.C. Penney, which survived closures Friday by the nationwide retailer.

WENATCHEEJ.C. Penney in Wenatchee lives on.

The store at Valley North Center was not on a list released Friday of 138 stores the company plans to close as it grapples with industry challenges.

The announced closures will affect stores in 40 states and upward of 5,000 employees, said a company press release. Texas leads the list with nine closures, followed by eight in Minnesota and seven in Illinois.

Liquidation sales at most stores on the closure list will begin April 17 with many of the outlets closing by the end of June.

Washington has only one announced closure — at Pilchuck Landing in Snohomish. But closures in Oregon total five stores, including those in the downtowns of Astoria, La Grande, Pendleton and The Dalles, with another at a shopping center in Grants Pass. Idaho has one closure at the Snake River Plaza in Burley.

The 138 closures are expected to save up to $200 million a year, said the company. Penney will continue to operate 900 stores.

Wire services reported in February that Penney CEO Marvin Ellison said the company’s footprint was too large for the current business climate. The closures will allow the company “to raise the overall brand standard of J.C. Penney” and invest in remaining stores, he said.

Last year, the Wenatchee store celebrated 50 years in business at Valley North Center. The company has had a presence in Wenatchee since 1912.

Earlier this year, the Macy’s store in East Wenatchee survived closure of 68 stores by that company. Sears also announced in January the closure of 150 stores, but the East Wenatchee Sears department store closed in 2013 and was replaced with a Sears Hometown store at Wenatchee Valley Mall.

Reach Mike Irwin at 509-665-1179 or . Read his blog Everyday Business. follow him on Twitter at @MikeIrwinWW.