Bankruptcy fears mount as J.C. Penney Skips Interest Payment.

J.C. Penney Co Inc said on Wednesday it will not make a $12 million interest payment on its long-term corporate bonds, a day after Reuters reported the department store operator was considering filing for bankruptcy protection.

In a regulatory filing, the company said it had a 30-day grace period to make the payment, on Senior Notes maturing in 2036, that was due on Wednesday, before it constitutes a default.

The 118-year-old company, which was already grappling with competition from online and off-price retailers, has taken a severe hit from the coronavirus crisis. It recently shut its 850 department stores, furloughed some employees and slashed spending.

JCPenney was doomed anyway but the coronavirus speeded up the effort.

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More importantly, the entire super mall concept faces a day of reckoning.

Online shopping rises every year. And it takes employees to man every department no matter how few shoppers there are.

Millennials don't shop the way their parents did and their parents don't shop as much now as they once did.

Add it all up and this story is not so much about JCPenney but the pending retail apocalypse in general.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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