Bon-Ton narrows loss in Q3

Retailer reduces inventory and pushes omnichannel in tough retail environment

Bon-Ton will liquidate.

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. today reported it narrowed its loss in the third quarter, compared with the same period last year.

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. headquarters in downtown Milwaukee.

The retailer, which has dual headquarters in Milwaukee and York, Pennsylvania, operates 267 stores in 26 states under the Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers brands. Like many department store operators, Bon-Ton has struggled in recent years as consumers do more of their shopping from varied retailers online and less in brick-and-mortar stores.

Bon-Ton’s third quarter net loss was $31.6 million, or $1.58 lost per share, compared with a net loss of $34 million, or $1.72 per share, in the third quarter of 2015.

Revenue totaled $590 million in the third quarter, down from $623.4 million in the same period a year ago. Comparable store sales, an important measure of retail performance, were down 4.9 percent year-over-year.

Bon-Ton’s third quarter operating loss of $12.9 million, was down from $18.3 million in the third quarter of 2015.

“Although our third quarter sales performance was impacted by warm weather in addition to soft traffic trends, we made progress on a number of our strategic initiatives,” said Kathryn Bufano, president and chief executive officer of Bon-Ton. “We delivered sales gains in several key categories as well as double digit growth in our omnichannel business and accelerated growth on our mobile site. In addition, we increased our gross margin rate by 170 basis points as a result of improved merchandise margin and reduced delivery costs. We also continued to execute against our cost savings initiatives and reduced inventory by 4.9 percent.”

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