Future of Aurelius J.C. Penney uncertain as company announces 140+ closures

J.C. Penney inside the Fingerlakes Mall

J.C. Penney announced Friday that it will be closing between 130 and 140 stores, as well as two distribution centers over the next several months to improve profitability in the era of online shopping.

In March the company plans on issuing a list of specific store closures, but at this time the future of the Fingerlakes Mall location remains a mystery. That location in Aurelius has been viewed as a short list contender for closure from those who frequent the store.

A visit to the Fingerlakes Mall reveals the struggle that is real for shoppers and employees alike.

During a walk-through in December, during the holiday rush, patrons of the shopping center said they were visiting for alternative reasons. While many might have expected visitors to be completing their Christmas shopping — many said they visited to see what was left, after having not visited in a number of months.

One shopper even said that despite living just two-miles from the center — he hadn’t been inside Fingerlakes Mall in over three years.

Other shoppers expressed concern for employees of the J.C. Penney store. “There’s not a lot of people in there, and it’s Saturday,” Melissa, a Syracuse resident who was shopping with family told FingerLakes1.com.

Her concern, which could be visually confirmed by anyone entering the store on that Saturday — just two weekends before Christmas — was a relatively quiet store.

Meanwhile, stores across the street — like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Kohl’s saw droves of customers.

J.C. Penney is one of only two anchor tenants left in the mall — as most national chains have left the center. Some local shops have opened up inside the center, but if Penney’s were to close — it would be a sobering blow to the Fingerlakes Mall, which would be left with only one true-anchor.

This story will be updated in the coming weeks after J.C. Penney announces the full-closure list. FingerLakes1.com reached out to J.C. Penney for comment but was deferred to the closure list, which they said will be available next month.

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