J.C. Penney will close 33 stores and lay off about 2,000 employees in the process, the retailer said Wednesday.

The stores are expected to be shuttered by early May.

"These actions are expected to result in an annual cost savings of approximately $65 million, beginning in 2014," the company says in a press release issued after the close of the stock market.

CEO Myron E. Ullman said in the release: "While it's always difficult to make a business decision that impacts our valued customers and associates, this important step addresses a strategic priority to improve the profitability of our stores and position JCPenney for future success."

The embattled company's stock price is near a 52-week low. Wednesday's news isn't helping much: Shares are down 1.1% in after-hours trading, to $6.93.


Selma, Ala. -- Selma Mall

Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. -- Arrow Plaza

Colorado Springs -- Chapel Hills Mall

Meriden, Conn. -- Meriden Square

Leesburg, Fla. -- Lake Square Mall

Port Richey, Fla. -- Gulf View Square

Muscatine, Iowa -- Muscatine Mall

Bloomingdale, Ill. -- Stratford Square Mall

Forsyth, Ill. -- Hickory Point Mall

Marion, Ind. -- Five Points Mall

Warsaw, Ind. -- Marketplace Shopping Center

Salisbury, Md. -- The Centre at Salisbury

Marquette, Mich. -- Westwood Plaza

Worthington, Minn. -- Northland Mall

Gautier, Miss. -- Singing River Mall

Natchez, Miss. -- Natchez Mall

Butte -- Butte Plaza Shopping Center

Cut Bank, Mont.

Kinston, N.C. -- Vernon Park Mall

Burlington, N.J. -- Burlington Center

Phillipsburg, N.J. -- Phillipsburg Mall

Wooster, Ohio -- Wayne Towne Plaza

Exton -- Exton Square Mall

Hazleton, Pa. -- LaurelMall

Washington, Pa. -- Washington Mall

Chattanooga -- Northgate Mall

Bristol, Va. -- Bristol Mall

Norfolk, Va. -- Military Circle Mall

Fond Du Lac, Wisc., Forest Mall

Janesville, Wisc. -- Janesville Mall

Rhinelander, Wisc. -- Lincoln Plaza Center

Rice Lake, Wisc. -- Cedar Mall

Wausau, Wisc. -- Wausau Mall