New York (CNN Business)Mall owners Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Group have an agreement to buy JCPenney out of bankruptcy, the companies said Wednesday.

Simon and Brookfield intend to acquire “substantially all of JCPenney’s retail and operating assets” for $1.75 billion with a combination of cash and debt, the companies said.JCPenney, the 118-year-old department store chain which filed for bankruptcy in May, has been struggling for years. It hasn’t had a profitable year since 2010. It has been closing stores at a rapid pace and struggling with unaffordable debt levels. At the time of the bankruptcy filing, it had more than 800 stores.Chains like JCPenney, which are dependent on clothing sales, have been hit particularly hard during this pandemic, as millions have lost their jobs and millions more are working from home and don’t need dress clothes.In pictures: The history of JCPenneyIn pictures: The history of JCPenney Photos: The history of JCPenneyPeople walk past a JCPenney store at the Queens Center Mall in New York in 2016.People walk past a JCPenney store at the Queens Center Mall in New York in 2016. Photos: The history of JCPenneyPeople walk past a JCPenney store at the Queens Center Mall in New York in 2016.Hide Caption 1 of 21Businessman James Cash Penney points to a picture of his first store in Kemmerer, Wyoming. JCPenney started in 1902 as a dry-goods store called the Golden Rule Store. At the time, Penney's business practices were revolutionary. He banned haggling, a common practice at the time, to keep prices low. And he encouraged his employees to "serve the public to its ultimate satisfaction." The company changed its name a decade later, opened many more stores and went public in 1929.Businessman James Cash Penney points to a picture of his first store in Kemmerer, Wyoming. JCPenney started in 1902 as a dry-goods store called the Golden Rule Store. At the time, Penney's business practices were revolutionary. He banned haggling, a common practice at the time, to keep prices low. And he encouraged his employees to "serve the public to its ultimate satisfaction." The company changed its name a decade later, opened many more stores and went public in 1929. Photos: The history of JCPenneyBusinessman James Cash Penney points to a picture of his first store in Kemmerer, Wyoming. JCPenney started in 1902 as a dry-goods store called the Golden Rule Store. At the time, Penney’s business practices were revolutionary. He banned haggling, a common practice at the time, to keep prices low. And he encouraged his employees to “serve the public to its ultimate satisfaction.” The company changed its name a decade later, opened many more stores and went public in 1929.Hide Caption 2 of 21In 1951, the company had $1 billion in sales for the first time.In 1951, the company had $1 billion in sales for the first time. Photos: The history of JCPenneyIn 1951, the company had $1 billion in sales for the first time.Hide Caption 3 of 21Construction workers build a JCPenney store in Denver in 1956.Construction workers build a JCPenney store in Denver in 1956. Photos: The history of JCPenneyConstruction workers build a JCPenney store in Denver in 1956.Hide Caption 4 of 21A couple of store managers, George F. McDougall and Graham Vaughn, confer at a Denver location in 1963.A couple of store managers, George F. McDougall and Graham Vaughn, confer at a Denver location in 1963. Photos: The history of JCPenneyA couple of store managers, George F. McDougall and Graham Vaughn, confer at a Denver location in 1963.Hide Caption 5 of 21Shoppers hurry across an intersection in front of a JCPenney store in Denver in 1964.Shoppers hurry across an intersection in front of a JCPenney store in Denver in 1964. Photos: The history of JCPenneyShoppers hurry across an intersection in front of a JCPenney store in Denver in 1964.Hide Caption 6 of 21Russell Martin, a store manager in Denver, shows a sword to a couple that won it as a special promotion in 1968.Russell Martin, a store manager in Denver, shows a sword to a couple that won it as a special promotion in 1968. Photos: The history of JCPenneyRussell Martin, a store manager in Denver, shows a sword to a couple that won it as a special promotion in 1968.Hide Caption 7 of 21A JCPenney store is seen in Quincy, Illinois, in 1969. JCPenney reached its peak number of stores in 1973, when it operated just over 2,000 locations nationwide.A JCPenney store is seen in Quincy, Illinois, in 1969. JCPenney reached its peak number of stores in 1973, when it operated just over 2,000 locations nationwide. Photos: The history of JCPenneyA JCPenney store is seen in Quincy, Illinois, in 1969. JCPenney reached its peak number of stores in 1973, when it operated just over 2,000 locations nationwide.Hide Caption 8 of 21A woman does a double take after seeing what she thought was a mannequin move in a JCPenney window in 1972.A woman does a double take after seeing what she thought was a mannequin move in a JCPenney window in 1972. Photos: The history of JCPenneyA woman does a double take after seeing what she thought was a mannequin move in a JCPenney window in 1972.Hide Caption 9 of 21A JCPenney exchange desk is busy on the day after Christmas in 1980.A JCPenney exchange desk is busy on the day after Christmas in 1980. Photos: The history of JCPenneyA JCPenney exchange desk is busy on the day after Christmas in 1980.Hide Caption 10 of 21Britain's Prince Charles and Princess Diana visit a JCPenney store in Springfield, Virginia, during a trip to the United States in 1985.Britain's Prince Charles and Princess Diana visit a JCPenney store in Springfield, Virginia, during a trip to the United States in 1985. Photos: The history of JCPenneyBritain’s Prince Charles and Princess Diana visit a JCPenney store in Springfield, Virginia, during a trip to the United States in 1985.Hide Caption 11 of 21Dominique Key, left, and Lesley Ann Pont shop for shoes at a JCPenney store in Thousand Oaks, California, in 1996.Dominique Key, left, and Lesley Ann Pont shop for shoes at a JCPenney store in Thousand Oaks, California, in 1996. Photos: The history of JCPenneyDominique Key, left, and Lesley Ann Pont shop for shoes at a JCPenney store in Thousand Oaks, California, in 1996.Hide Caption 12 of 21Customers shop at a new JCPenney store in New York in 2009.Customers shop at a new JCPenney store in New York in 2009. Photos: The history of JCPenneyCustomers shop at a new JCPenney store in New York in 2009.Hide Caption 13 of 21A customer goes down an escalator at a JCPenney store in Westminster, Colorado, in 2009.A customer goes down an escalator at a JCPenney store in Westminster, Colorado, in 2009. Photos: The history of JCPenneyA customer goes down an escalator at a JCPenney store in Westminster, Colorado, in 2009.Hide Caption 14 of 21Gabbie Juka, left, and Allison Funk share a laugh as they relax on a bed at a JCPenney store in Mentor, Ohio, in 2010.Gabbie Juka, left, and Allison Funk share a laugh as they relax on a bed at a JCPenney store in Mentor, Ohio, in 2010. Photos: The history of JCPenneyGabbie Juka, left, and Allison Funk share a laugh as they relax on a bed at a JCPenney store in Mentor, Ohio, in 2010.Hide Caption 15 of 21Customers walk past mannequins at a JCPenney store in New York in 2013.Customers walk past mannequins at a JCPenney store in New York in 2013. Photos: The history of JCPenneyCustomers walk past mannequins at a JCPenney store in New York in 2013.Hide Caption 16 of 21Customers shop inside a JCPenney store in Glendale, California, in 2013.Customers shop inside a JCPenney store in Glendale, California, in 2013. Photos: The history of JCPenneyCustomers shop inside a JCPenney store in Glendale, California, in 2013.Hide Caption 17 of 21Mannequins of different shapes and sizes are displayed in a store window in New York in 2014.Mannequins of different shapes and sizes are displayed in a store window in New York in 2014. Photos: The history of JCPenneyMannequins of different shapes and sizes are displayed in a store window in New York in 2014.Hide Caption 18 of 21JCPenney shoppers view discount merchandise in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, in 2017. Since the fall of 2011, the company has reported only five profitable quarters -— all of them in the holiday shopping season.JCPenney shoppers view discount merchandise in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, in 2017. Since the fall of 2011, the company has reported only five profitable quarters -— all of them in the holiday shopping season. Photos: The history of JCPenneyJCPenney shoppers view discount merchandise in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, in 2017. Since the fall of 2011, the company has reported only five profitable quarters -— all of them in the holiday shopping season.Hide Caption 19 of 21JCPenney CEO Jill Soltau speaks during an interview in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2019. The company has had four different CEOs in the past 10 years.JCPenney CEO Jill Soltau speaks during an interview in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2019. The company has had four different CEOs in the past 10 years. Photos: The history of JCPenneyJCPenney CEO Jill Soltau speaks during an interview in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2019. The company has had four different CEOs in the past 10 years.Hide Caption 20 of 21Parking lots are empty in front of a JCPenney store in Hayward, California, in March 2020. Stores were closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.Parking lots are empty in front of a JCPenney store in Hayward, California, in March 2020. Stores were closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Photos: The history of JCPenneyParking lots are empty in front of a JCPenney store in Hayward, California, in March 2020. Stores were closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.Hide Caption 21 of 2100 jcpenney UNFURLED RESTRICTED02 jcpenney UNFURLED03 jcpenney UNFURLED RESTRICTED04 jcpenney UNFURLED RESTRICTED 05 jcpenney UNFURLED RESTRICTED06 jcpenney UNFURLED RESTRICTED07 jcpenney UNFURLED RESTRICTED08 jcpenney UNFURLED RESTRICTED09 jcpenney UNFURLED RESTRICTED10 jcpenney UNFURLED RESTRICTED11 jcpenney UNFURLED RESTRICTED12 jcpenney UNFURLED RESTRICTED01 jcpenney UNFURLED13 jcpenney UNFURLED RESTRICTED14 jcpenney UNFURLED RESTRICTED15 jcpenney UNFURLED RESTRICTED16 jcpenney UNFURLED RESTRICTED17 jcpenney UNFURLED18 jcpenney UNFURLED19 jcpenney UNFURLED RESTRICTED20 jcpenney UNFURLED RESTRICTEDIt would make sense for Simon and Brookfield to help keep JCPenney alive for now, some experts say. Traditional malls were facing problems from store closings and reduced foot traffic even before the pandemic. A record 9,300 stores closed last year, and closings could nearly triple to 25,000 in 2020. In February, Macy’s (M) — another mall anchor — announced plans to close an additional 125 stores over the next three years.Read MoreMalls can’t lose yet another tenant, and Simon was part of the group that bought Forever 21 as part of that retailer’s bankruptcy process just before the pandemic hit US retailing.Despite mall owners’ desires to keep retailers alive, even if only on life support, it’s by no means certain that JCPenney will survive this crisis. Pier 1, which filed for bankruptcy with the intention of staying in business, is now in the process of closing all its stores and going out of business.

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