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JCPenney Offers Enhanced Early Retirement Program

PLANO, Texas, Aug. 11 /PRnewswire/ -- J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE: JCP) said today that it is offering a voluntary early retirement program to approximately 1,500, or about 5 percent, of its management associates. This program will enable the company to significantly reduce operating expenses and enhance its competitive position.

"We recognize that in order to continue to build on our leadership position in an increasingly competitive retailing environment, it is essential for us to continue to develop a competitive cost structure," said James E. Oesterreicher, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of JCPenney. "We are firmly committed to accelerating our ongoing expense reduction program and significantly lowering our expense-to-sales ratio. We will increase our operating efficiencies, work on process changes, and implement additional cost-saving initiatives.

"We realize that these programs must carefully balance our need to deliver value to our shareholders with our responsibility to treat our associates fairly and to provide enhanced service to our customers," Mr. Oesterreicher said. "This voluntary program is an example of how that balance can be achieved. If all of those eligible to participate in the program accept the offer, the Company will be able to reduce its annual cost structure by approximately $120 million, which may reduce the potential for additional staff reduction initiatives in the future. The Voluntary Retirement Program enables us to draw on our deep 'bench strength' and will provide new career development opportunities for many of our associates," Mr. Oesterreicher said.

JCPenney associates who participate in the Voluntary Retirement Program will be entitled to receive their retirement benefits, commencing on or before April 30, 1998, the precise date to be determined by the needs of the company. The program will be available to all JCPenney stores, catalog, and corporate support management associates who are, or will be age 55 or older, and have at least 10 years of service with the company as of April 10, 1998. Associates of the company's Eckerd Drugstores and insurance subsidiaries will not participate in this program.

The company expects to record a one-time, pre-tax charge of up to $200 million for the early retirement program later this year. The size of that charge will be determined by the number of associates who elect to participate in the program. Associates who are eligible will have from September 16, 1997 through October 31, 1997 to decide whether or not to participate.

J.C. Penney Company, Inc. is one of America's largest department store and drugstore retailers. The company has more store space, with 117 million square feet, than any other department store. JCPenney Catalog is the nation's largest catalog merchant. With the acquisition of Eckerd's, the company's drugstore chain is the nation's 4th largest.

SOURCE J.C. Penney Company, Inc.
 -0- 08/11/97


/CONTACT: Theda Page Whitehead of J.C. Penney Company, Inc., 972-431-4757/

(JCP)

CO: J.C. Penney Company, Inc. ST: Texas IN: REA SU:

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 11, 1997
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