People walk past a JCPenney store at the Queens Center Mall in New York in 2016.
Michael Nagle/Bloomberg/Getty Images

In pictures: The history of JCPenney

Updated 1:23 PM ET, Tue May 19, 2020

People walk past a JCPenney store at the Queens Center Mall in New York in 2016.
Michael Nagle/Bloomberg/Getty Images

JCPenney, an iconic American retail chain that opened more than 100 years ago, has filed for bankruptcy.

The company blames the coronavirus pandemic, but that is only the latest of its problems. For the past decade, JCPenney has been struggling under a mountain of debt and red ink. Its most recent profitable year was 2010, and its net losses have totaled $4.5 billion since then. 

JCPenney is the fourth national retailer to file for bankruptcy this month. The entire department-store sector has been declining as more consumers turn to online shopping and big-box discounters such as Walmart and Target.

JCPenney, with 85,000 employees, is one of the largest US retailers to file for bankruptcy in recent years. It plans to close nearly 200 stores this year and an additional 50 stores next year as it tries to turn around its business.