February 6, 2019 / 4:51 PM / 3 months ago

J.C. Penney ditches home appliances to focus on apparel

A shopper leaves the J.C. Penney department store in North Riverside, Illinois, U.S., November 17, 2017. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski

(Reuters) - J.C. Penney Co Inc said on Wednesday it would stop selling major appliances, including fridges and washing machines, and revamp the layout of its stores in a bid to focus on apparel to boost profits.

The company also plans to largely halt selling furniture, which will now only be available in select stores in Puerto Rico and on J.C. Penney websites.

All moves will happen at the end of February, the department store chain said.

“Optimizing the allocation of store space will enable us to prioritize and focus on the company’s legacy strengths in apparel and soft home furnishings, which represent higher margin opportunities,” the Plano, Texas-based company said in a statement.

The retailer had said in November that appliances, a big-ticket category in home products, had performed badly in the third quarter.

The company like other brick-and-mortar stores has been battling falling sales as shoppers move online. J.C. Penny, trying to stay afloat, has shut locations around the country, cut jobs and renovated stores as part of a multi-year turnaround plan that sped up under newly-installed Chief Executive Officer Jill Soltau.

Shares of the company, which have slid 63 percent in the past 12 months, were down about 2.2 percent at $1.32 on Wednesday morning.

Reporting by Soundarya J in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar

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