JumboSports Inc. announced that it will "continue to slim down, closing 18 of its 77 stores" and taking a $35- $45M "restructuring charge," according to Aissatou Sidime of the TAMPA TRIBUNE. The moves, part of a '98 strategy to "run a leaner company, eliminate inventory problems and pay down debt," will result in 740 lost jobs. In addition, the chain will "shrink" to 59 stores in 23 states by summer. The latest round of closures follow the October closings of eight stores, and withdraws the company from 15 "large to mid-sized markets," mainly in the Midwest. The "deciding factor" in the restructuring was the company's desire to reduce its debt, which totaled $360M on October 31. With the closings, JumboSports "expects to recover" $70M and "apply those funds" to the debt (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 1/22).