ALBANY, GA (WALB) – One of the largest retailers in the nation is betting on South Georgia. J. C. Penney will soon begin major renovations on the Albany Mall store.
Penney's national office announced this week that its streamlining and closing six stores, two in Georgia. But Albany's store is safe and will even expand.
Albany J. C. Penney store manager Joe Iles says in six months the store will be new from top to bottom, from marble floors to lights, to flat screen TV's in more and larger dressing rooms.
"We are going to knock out walls," Iles said. "This will be one of the newest facilities for J. C. Penney in the state of Georgia."
Penney's CEO says they are focused on increased profitability and accelerating growth. So remaking the Albany store, which they moved into in 1988, shows their confidence in South Georgia's recovery from the recession.
"I think that there is a change possibly in the economic conditions here in Albany, Georgia," Iles said.
Store officials are already seeing improved consumer confidence, and now want to meet demand with high end cosmetic, jewelry, and children shoes departments. Their plan is the renovated store will keep more customers from driving to other cities to shop.
"If we can provide for that consumer some of the same amenities that she finds in other places, she will stay here at home. Keep those dollars in Albany, Georgia, and that's truly one of the big issues," Iles said.
The store will remain open throughout the renovation, that is planned to be finished in late July or early August.
125 people work at the Albany Penney's and the store hopes with its expansion, more jobs will be added.
J. C. Penney has 1,100 stores in the United States. They calculate their Albany store reaches 350,000 customers a year, from a 75 mile radius.
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