PLANO (CBSDFW.COM/CNN) — Sales plunged and losses soared at Plano-based JCPenney in the three months before its bankruptcy filing, as stores remained closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The department store chain filed for bankruptcy protection on May 15. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday night, JCPenney gave preliminary financial results for its fiscal first quarter that ended May 2.

READ MORE: Medical Marijuana Could Become More Widely Available In Texas

The company said sales fell by $1.4 billion, or 56%. All of JCPenney’s stores closed on March 18 and didn’t start reopening until early May following the close of the quarter.

The operating losses more than tripled to $339 million from $93 million a year earlier.

JCPenney was regularly losing money before the COVID-19 pandemic. The company’s most recent profitable year was 2010, and its net losses have totaled $4.5 billion since then.

READ MORE: Texas To Receive About Half A Million Less Vaccine Doses Next Week Due To Manufacturing Issue

Since the summer of 2011, it has reported a net profit in only five quarters, all of them in the holiday shopping season. The company has been unable to make money without that boost in sales.

It reported a narrow profit in the fiscal fourth quarter that ended in February before the COVID-19 outbreak hit the United States, but earnings were down 64% from a year earlier.

The company has reported plans to close about 154 stores permanently this summer and about another 100 stores by the end of next year. Those 250 stores would represent about 30% of the stores it had before the crisis.

MORE NEWS: Severe Storms Drop Large Hail On Parts Of North Texas Friday Night

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The CNN Wire™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company contributed to this report.)