Bon-Ton reports another loss

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., which has dual headquarters in Milwaukee and York, Pa., today reported a third quarter net loss of $11 million, or 57 cents lost per share, compared with a loss of $931,000, or 5 cents lost per share, in the third quarter of 2013.

Revenue at the company, which operates department stores nationwide that include the Boston Store brand, was $642.7 million, down from $651.2 million in the same period a year ago.

Comparable store sales decreased 0.8 percent year-over-year.

“The quarter was disappointing in that we had solid momentum through mid-October, when traffic slowed and we saw unseasonably warm weather,” said Kathryn Bufano, president and chief executive officer. “While our subsequent performance did not meet our expectations, we did achieve numerous measurable successes that bode well for ongoing business. We drove double-digit sales growth in e-commerce, fueled by a meaningful increase in conversion. We increased the sales penetration of our Let Us Find It customer service initiative. We also increased penetration of our private label credit card sales which, we believe, demonstrates continued success of our Your Rewards customer loyalty program. In addition, we effectively managed our markdowns, resulting in a reduced net markdown rate in the quarter. We were particularly encouraged by the sell-through of recent receipts, which suggests our customer is embracing the newness in our merchandise assortments.

 “We are encouraged by our sales performance thus far in November and are eager for the holiday kick-off next week. As we look to the all-important holiday season, we recognize the challenges of continued consumer uncertainty, but we believe we are well-positioned to meet anticipated fourth quarter demand with compelling product and strong marketing throughout the season. We expect the environment to remain highly promotional and we have planned a robust calendar of events to showcase our exceptional values and strengthen our appeal to both new and existing Bon-Ton customers.”

The company expects to report a loss for 2014.

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