Customers walk back to their vehicle outside JCPenney at Acadiana Mall in July. The store will start liquidation sale Wednesday. 

The J.C. Penney store in the Stirling Lafayette shopping center on Louisiana Avenue was one of the first to open in Louisiana as the struggling retailer announced a round of store openings Thursday.

The company opened 150 stores in 27 states and has now reopened 304 stores nationwide following the COVID-19 shutdown, company officials announced. The move comes on the heels of the company filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this month and forecasting rounds of stores closures as a result.

The Louisiana Avenue store reopened with shorter hours of noon to 7 p.m. daily except 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays. It is also offering shopping for at-risk customers from 11 a.m. to noon Wednesdays through Fridays.

The store at the Acadiana Mall remains closed.

The closures will come, according to a USA Today report on Thursday. J.C. Penney will begin going-out-of-business sales at certain stores within weeks, an attorney for the company said Thursday at a court hearing, as the company is set to close 242 stores permanently as part of the Chapter 11 restructuring plan.

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The company's lawyers expect to identify the locations that will be permanently shuttered in a court filing June 4, the report indicated.

The retailer owns its space in the Stirling Lafayette shopping center. It sold its Acadiana Mall space last year and signed a lease that will expire in 2024.

J.C. Penney also opened stores in Lake Charles, Alexandria and the Mall of Louisiana in Baton Rouge.

Acadiana Business Today: New unemployment claims continue to slow down, existing claims grow slightly in Louisiana; JC Penney opens Louisiana Avenue store

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