Report: J.C. Penney lays off 2,200 store and office associates

New York -- The ax has fallen — again — at J.C. Penney Co. The retailer laid off approximately 2,200 employees in its stores and district offices on Wednesday, The Dallas Morning News reported.

The majority of the staff cuts occurred in some 100 stores that had significant sales declines last year, spokeswoman Daphne Avilla said in the report, with Penney adjusting the employee count to match each store’s new level of business.

In addition, administrative and back office jobs were also cut across Penney’s 1,100 stores and in 55 district offices, The Dallas Morning News reported. In stores, department management duties are also being consolidated.

The cuts come as criticism of CEO Ron Johnson and his ambitious plan to transform Penney continues to mount. Former Penney chairman and CEO Allen Questrom has joined the ranks of those calling for Johnson to be replaced.

“All these people are worried about Johnson keeping his job. It’s crazy,” Questrom told The Dallas Morning News in a phone interview on Wednesday. “What about all these Penney employees?

“It’s an old company, and he’s putting the nails in the coffin if they don’t start making some changes. There’s no reason to wait another quarter.”

The board “has allowed this to go on too long,” Questrom said. “I have to believe they are looking for his replacement.”

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