J.C. Penney has been troubled for years, and one of many ailing US retailers being wiped out by Amazon, too much debt, and an inability to adapt to the internet era. If this restructuring does not work out, the next step will probably be bankruptcy:
J.C. Penney Co Inc has hired advisers to explore debt restructuring options that would buy more time for the money-losing U.S. retailer to forge a turnaround, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
The 117-year-old department store chain’s move represents a high-stakes attempt to get its financial house in order before its cash coffers dwindle and its debt, totaling roughly $4 billion, comes due in the next few years.
The Plano, Texas-based company faces fierce competition from discount retailers such as the TJX Cos Inc’s Marshalls and T.J. Maxx chains, and J.C. Penney has struggled to boost the profile of its e-commerce business to rival established players such as Amazon.com Inc.
While J.C. Penney has more than $1.5 billion available under a revolving credit line, investors have continued to sell off the retailer’s shares in response to financial losses. Its credit rating is deep in junk territory, increasing its borrowing costs.
J.C. Penney’s restructuring plans are at an early stage, one of the sources cautioned. The discussions with restructuring specialists reflect J.C. Penney’s resolve to take steps in coming months to increase its financial breathing room and avoid confronting a potential bankruptcy filing down the road, the source added.