J.C. Penney announced today in a press release that it plans to "optimize its national retail operations" as part of an effort to return to profitability as a company. That plan includes the closure of 130-140 of their roughly 1,000 stores over the next few months.

In the statement released by the company, Marvin R. Ellison, chairman and chief executive officer of JCPenney said the following:

"We understand that closing stores will impact the lives of many hard working associates, which is why we have decided to initiate a voluntary early retirement program for approximately 6,000 eligible associates. By coordinating the timing of these two events, we can expect to see a net increase in hiring as the number of full-time associates expected to take advantage of the early retirement incentive will far exceed the number of full-time positions affected by the store closures."

In regard to what stores will be closing, the company hasn't released details yet. They said they plan to solidify those details soon. J.C. Penney has 25 locations in Minnesota and 15 in Wisconsin; some of which could be on the chopping block. Locally, the company has locations in Duluth and Hibbing.

As further details become available about closings, we'll share them with you.