While J.C. Penney plans to reorganize and emerge from bankruptcy proceedings after eliminating several billion dollars of debt, it will also explore a sale as part of the terms of its new financing, the company said. Reuters earlier reported that the company was nearing a bankruptcy filing and negotiating the financing.The company on Friday said it would begin closing some stores permanently in phases and would disclose further details in coming weeks. People familiar with the matter previously told Reuters that the company initially plans to permanently shutter roughly 200 stores, saying the figure could fluctuate depending on negotiations with creditors.The bankruptcy filing caps a long decline for the 118-year-old department store chain, which once operated more than 1,600 locations that became fixtures in U.S. malls. The company at one point employed nearly 200,000 people.Even before the coronavirus outbreak, J.C. Penney was struggling with nearly $4 billion of debt and pressure from both discount retailers and e-commerce companies. Larger retailers such as Walmart Inc and Target Corp have squeezed smaller rivals by offering bargain-price apparel, including online.The coronavirus outbreak, which has resulted in more than 80,000 deaths in the United States, is now forcing a financial reckoning among an array of retailers that had to temporarily close their doors under states’ orders. Other retailers already grappling with customers’ abandonment of traditional stores for online shopping have also resorted to bankruptcy filings.Earlier this month, both luxury department store chain Neiman Marcus Group and clothing retailer J. Crew Group Inc filed for bankruptcy protection after alternative attempts to rework their finances failed. Stage Stores Inc, a U.S. department store chain selling mid-priced apparel at hundreds of stores in mostly rural areas, said earlier this week it would liquidate unless it finds a buyer.Like other retailers, J.C. Penney has started reopening its stores in stages as many states have begun to loosen coronavirus restrictions. But with U.S. unemployment now at the highest level since the Great Depression of the 1930s, there are serious concerns that consumer spending will remain dampened for a prolonged stretch.Against that backdrop, J.C.Penney faced a looming $105 million debt payment in June and $300 million of annual interest expenses. Adding to pressure was an unprecedented span of lost sales and uncertainty whether shoppers concerned about their health would return to stores.Topics : J.C. Penney Co Inc filed for bankruptcy protection on Friday with plans to permanently close some stores and also explore a possible sale, making it the latest brick-and-mortar retailer to crumble as prolonged store closures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic drive a final stake through long-troubled businesses.The US department store chain, known for selling family apparel, cosmetics and jewelry at roughly 850 locations, said it reached an agreement with existing lenders for $900 million of debtor-in-possession financing to aid operations while it navigates bankruptcy proceedings in federal court in Corpus Christi, Texas.The loan consists of $450 million in fresh financing, the company said. The balance is made up of existing debt being “rolled up” to be given the same legal status as the new funding that J.C. Penney obtained, people familiar with the matter said. The retailer said it had an additional $500 million in cash on hand before the bankruptcy filing.