JC Penney postponing store closures and liquidation sales

JC Penney: Stores have seen better sales, traffic

Maybe it's the memories that are bringing shoppers out to the closing J.C. Penney stores.

No matter the reason, customers are showing up.

As a result, the retailer has postponed the liquidation sales and closure dates for the 138 stores it plans to shutter this year, the company told CNBC exclusively.

"Ever since the company announced its store closure list, those stores have seen better-than-expected sales and traffic," J.C. Penney spokeswoman Daphne Avila said.

"This is not an uncommon response when you announce a store closure. Local shoppers will come out for a variety of reasons — some out of nostalgia and some who are just looking for a great deal."

It's "prudent to continue selling through our spring and summer merchandise at the current promotional levels and begin our liquidation sale a month later than originally planned," Avila continued.

The liquidation will now begin May 22 instead of April 17 as originally scheduled. The new closure date of July 31 is about six weeks later than J.C. Penney originally planned.

(For a full list of Penney's upcoming closures, see below)

Penney's said earlier this year that it would close 138 stores in a bid to cut costs and focus on its most profitable locations. The company expects the closures to save it some $200 million a year, which will help it whittle down the $4.3 billion it has in long-term debt.

J.C. Penney is far from the only retailer closing down stores. Macy's and Sears are also turning off the lights in shopping centers across the U.S. as they adjust to shoppers' changing tastes and the shift to online spending.

Still, Penney's CEO Marvin Ellison has remained adamant that physical stores matter. Not only do they offer shoppers a place to touch and feel items, but they serve as hubs for picking up, distributing and returning items.

"We believe the future winners in retail will be the companies that can create a frictionless interaction between stores and e-commerce," Ellison said in a statement announcing the company's closure plan in February.

—CNBC's Krystina Gustafson contributed to this report

List of JC Penney upcoming store closures

Mall/Shopping Center City State
Auburn Mall Auburn AL
Tannehill Promenade Bessemer AL
Gadsden Mall Gadsden AL
Jasper Mall Jasper AL
Military Plaza Benton AR
Chickasaw Plaza Blytheville AR
Riverview Mall Bullhead City AZ
Downtown Bishop Bishop CA
Sunwest Plaza Lodi CA
The Village at Orange Orange CA
Hilltop Mall Richmond CA
Fort Morgan Main St. Fort Morgan CO
Glenwood Springs Mall Glenwood Springs CO
St. Vrain Centre Longmont CO
Broadway Plaza Sterling CO
Connecticut Post Mall Milford CT
Jacksonville Regional Shopping Center Jacksonville FL
Palatka Mall Palatka FL
Dublin Mall Dublin GA
Macon Mall Macon GA
Milledgeville Mall Milledgeville GA
Gateway Plaza Thomasville GA
Tifton Mall Tifton GA
Downtown Decorah Decorah IA
Crossroads Mall Fort Dodge IA
Penn Central Mall Oskaloosa IA
Quincy Place Ottumwa IA
Snake River Plaza Burley ID
Eastland Mall Bloomington IL
Fulton Square Canton IL
Village Square MallEffingham IL
FreestandingMacomb IL
Peru MallPeru IL
Northland MallSterling IL
Centerpointe of WoodridgeWoodridge IL
FairOaks MallColumbus IN
Connersville PlazaConnersville IN
Huntington PlazaHuntington IN
Jasper Manor CenterJasper IN
Logansport MallLogansport IN
Chanute SquareChanute KS
Downtown Great BendGreat Bend KS
Hutchinson MallHutchinson KS
FreestandingLawrence KS
Winfield PlazaWinfield KS
Cortana MallBaton Rouge LA
Park TerraceDeRidder LA
North Shore SquareSlidell LA
Berkshire MallLanesborough MA
Easton MarketplaceEaston MD
Rockland PlazaRockland ME
Lakeview Square MallBattle Creek MI
Delta PlazaEscanaba MI
Westshore MallHolland MI
Copper Country MallHoughton MI
Birchwood MallKingsford MI
Midland MallMidland MI
Cascade CrossingsSault Ste. Marie MI
Central Lakes CrossingBaxter MN
Five Lakes CentreFairmont MN
Faribo West MallFaribault MN
Irongate PlazaHibbing MN
Hutchinson MallHutchinson MN
Red Wing MallRed Wing MN
Downtown Thief River FallsThief River Falls MN
FreestandingWinona MN
Maryville CenterMaryville MO
Leigh MallColumbus MS
Southgate PlazaCorinth MS
Greenville MallGreenville MS
Bonita Lakes MallMeridian MS
Oxford MallOxford MS
Capital Hill MallHelena MT
Sidney Main StreetSidney MT
Albemarle CrossingAlbemarle NC
Boone MallBoone NC
Eastridge MallGastonia NC
Blue Ridge MallHendersonville NC
Monroe CrossingMonroe NC
Becker Village MallRoanoke Rapids NC
Prairie Hills MallDickinson ND
Buffalo MallJamestown ND
Downtown WahpetonWahpeton ND
Fremont MallFremont NE
Downtown McCookMcCook NE
Platte River MallNorth Platte NE
Rio Grande PlazaRio Grande NJ
The BoulevardLas Vegas NV
Dunkirk-Fredonia PlazaDunkirk NY
Westfield SunriseMassapequa NY
Palisades CenterWest Nyack NY
Findlay Village MallFindlay OH
New Towne MallNew Philadelphia OH
Richmond Town SquareRichmond Heights OH
St. Mary's SquareSt. Marys OH
Altus PlazaAltus OK
Ne-Mar Shopping CenterClaremore OK
Ponca PlazaPonca City OK
Pioneer Square Shopping CenterStillwater OK
Astoria DowntownAstoria OR
Grants Pass Shopping CenterGrants Pass OR
La Grande DowntownLa Grande OR
Downtown PendletonPendleton OR
The Dalles Main StreetThe Dalles OR
Columbia MallBloomsburg PA
Clearfield MallClearfield PA
King of Prussia MallKing of Prussia PA
Philadelphia MillsPhiladelphia PA
Bradford Towne CentreTowanda PA
Lycoming MallPennsdale PA
Willow Grove ParkWillow Grove PA
Citadel MallCharleston SC
Town 'N CountryEasley SC
Palace MallMitchell SD
Northridge PlazaPierre SD
Watertown MallWatertown SD
Yankton MallYankton SD
Greeneville CommonsGreeneville TN
Knoxville CenterKnoxville TN
County Market PlaceUnion City TN
Athens Village Shopping CenterAthens TX
Borger Shopping PlazaBorger TX
Heartland MallEarly TX
El Paso DowntownEl Paso TX
Marshall MallMarshall TX
McAllen DowntownMcAllen TX
University MallNacogdoches TX
King Plaza Shopping CenterSeguin TX
Bosque River CenterStephenville TX
New River Valley MallChristiansburg VA
Tanglewood MallRoanoke VA
Pilchuck LandingSnohomish WA
Pine Tree MallMarinette WI
Marshfield MallMarshfield WI
Richland Square Shopping Center Richland Center WI
Rapids Mall Wisconsin Rapids WI
Foxcroft Towne Center Martinsburg WV
Downtown SheridanSheridanWY