Report: J.C. Penney to open fewer stores next year

Dallas J.C. Penney Co. said it expects to open fewer than five stores in 2010, according to the Dallas Business Journal.

Chairman and CEO Myron "Mike" Ullman told Wall Street analysts that there is probably 80 million to 100 million sq. ft. of excess department store space in the United States.

"There's way too much space in our sector" for the level of consumer spending expected, he said. "We'll probably open less than five stores next year."

Instead, J.C. Penney will focus on refurbishing existing stores and adding in-store Sephora shops inside more of its 1,100 locations, according to the report.

J.C. Penney will open 17 stores this year, down from 35 stores last year, after it scaled back from its pace of 50 per year.

The company also cut its 2010 capital-spending budget to $400 million, from $600 million this year and $969 million in 2008, the report said.