J.C. Penney is joining the growing list of traditional chains struggling to draw foot traffic into stores. The retailer announced Friday plans to close up to 140 locations and two distribution centers. Macy’s, Sears and K-Mart all previously announced plans to close locations, and vacancy rates are rising at traditional shopping centers and malls. Virginia Tech economist Sudipta Sarangi says they are all casualties of the changing face of retail. “E-commerce and evolving fashion trends are driving factors. This becomes self-fulfilling. Lower sales make it harder to maintain physical stores,” said Sarangi. “Stock prices also fall making it harder for firms to finance physical operations. Quoting “The demographic that shops in J.C. Penney is different. It’s mostly older folks. Young shoppers prefer online shopping and inventory that is virtually unlimited. Closing stories will help Penney more effectively compete against the growing threat of online retailers.” BackgroundSudipta Sarangi is a professor and head of the Department of Economics in the College of Science at Virginia Tech. His fields of interest include applied game theory, experimental economics and development economics. Much of his current research focuses on issues relating to social networks. To secure a print or broadcast interview with Dr. Sarangi, contact Bill Foy by email at [email protected]; or by phone at 540-998-0288 or 540-231-8719. Our studioVirginia Tech's television and radio studios can broadcast live HD audio and video to networks, news agencies, and affiliates interviewing Virginia Tech faculty, students, and staff. The university does not charge for use of its studios. Video is transmitted by LTN Global Communications and fees may apply.