J.C. Penney plans to open a department store at Franklin Mills Mall in March at the same location where, until earlier this year, it had operated a Penney's outlet store that shut down as part of a nationwide realignment by the retailer, mall officials announced Thursday.

Penney's will remodel the site of its former outlet after renovating the interior into a modern, 100,000-square-foot department store at the discount-oriented megamall in Far Northeast Philadelphia.

The new Penney's will join Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th, Last Call by Neiman Marcus, Ann Taylor Factory Store, and Guess Factory Store, among other outlet and value retail stores at Franklin Mills. The announcement was made by Indianapolis-based mall owner Simon Property Group Inc., which recently announced a planned redevelopment and expansion at another of its local holdings, King of Prussia Mall.    - Maria Panaritis