The Wider World

JC Penney will file for bankruptcy

JC PENNEY filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Friday (WIkipedia).

JC Penney, once a retail fixture in nearly every American town, could be headed into the final roundup. The 118-year-old department store chain on Friday announced it would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

According to the Associated Press, the company was planning to close some stores, with the list of those slated for closure to be announced later this month.

The venerable chain was a victim not just of the coronavirus epidemic but also of the rise in online buying and the decline of patronage from customers who are now patronizing Target, Walmart and T.J.Maxx/Marshalls.

Chapter 11 bankruptcies don’t always mean closure. It is intended to give a business breathing space to reorganize, refinance and decrease debt.

However, other firms that entered Chapter 11 – such as Mervyn’s and Toys R Us – have either failed or survived only as a shadow of their former selves.

In the Tribune’s coverage area – Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Stanton and Westminster – only one Penney store remains, that in the struggling Westminster Mall.  In years past, there was a store in Orange County Plaza (now The Promenade) in Garden Grove and another in Huntington (Beach) Center, which is now Bella Terra.

Coronavirus cases keep rising worldwide

The numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths continue to rise at a sharp angle, according to the Johns Hopkins University’s count. The total confirmed cases is now at 4.5 million, led by the United States with 1.44 million, followed by Russia with 262,843 cases, and the United Kingdom with 238,004.

A CHART compiled by Johns Hopkins University show the trajectory of coronavirus cases (JHU image).

Global deaths are at 307,108, with the U.S. leading with 87,493 cases. Next is the U.K. with 34,078 and Italy with 41,610.

In other coronavirus news:

  • United Press International is reporting that an article from the Journal of the American Medical Association states that the spread of COVID-19 can be slowed by “stay-at-home” orders and social distancing, based on studies in Iowa.
  • The U.S. House of Representatives is voting on a $3 trillion coronavirus aid package pushed by Democrats that’s not expected to pass the Republican-led Senate. The House also voted to allow for remote voting for the first time it its 237-year history.
  • A potential vaccine that’s been tested on humans and monkeys is showing promise, according to CBS News. The drug not only caused protective antibodies to swing into action, but there was no pneumonia or virus in the lungs after being treated. The vaccine was developed at Oxford University in England and tested in the U.S.

Weather to give us some variety this weekend

If you like your weather warmer or cooler, there’s something for everyone this weekend and the following week. According to the National Weather Service, Saturday will be cloudy in Orange County with highs around 77 degrees. The clouds should part on Sunday and the temperatures down to 73 degrees or so.  There’s a chance of rain on Monday with a high of 71.

Wall Street stocks makes a comeback

Stock markets on Friday coped with retail declines and rose a bit by closing time. The Dow Jones Average was up 60 points (0.25 percent), the S&P 500 by 11.20 points (0.19 percent) and the NASDAQ up 70.84 (0.79  percent). Foreign markets were also up, according to Yahoo Finance.

The upward tilt in the afternoon followed a grim report on retail sales in the morning, in which a plunge of 16.4 percent was reported by the U.S. Department of Commerce. It was the worst monthly report ever. However, investors are said to be optimistic about the impact of the relaxation of “stay at home” rules in some states.

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