Bon-Ton Stores’ websites tease comeback

Say updates coming in "weeks"

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The websites for The Bon-Ton Stores Inc.’s store brands, including Boston Store, have a banner message today that suggests they will be making some kind of comeback.

“We’ve got great news. Boston Store is coming back!” the message reads at Boston Store’s website. The websites for Bon-Ton’s other store brands have the same message, except they use the name of those store brands.

The sites indicate further updates will be provided soon.

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The websites for The Bon-Ton Stores, including Boston Store, have a message that indicates they will be making a comeback.

“Stay tuned for updates over the coming weeks!” they say. “We appreciate your loyalty and look forward to being able to serve you again soon.”

A Bon-Ton media spokeswoman could no longer be reached for comment, as the company closed all of its remaining stores this week.

A list of store locations on the Boston Store website indicates its local locations are “temporarily closed.”

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A Milwaukee-area commercial real estate industry source said another retail firm has or is in the process of acquiring the Bon-Ton Stores websites. The company plans to revitalize the Bon-Ton Stores, mostly as an online retailer with a limited number of brick-and-mortar locations, he said. The source declined to disclose the name of the retailer.

A joint venture between Los Angeles-based Great American Group, New York-based Tiger Capital Group and a group of Bon-Ton debtholders bought The Bon-Ton Stores out of bankruptcy in April and planned to complete going out of business sales by Aug. 31.

Great American Group released the following statement: “All of Bon-Ton Stores’ physical store locations will be closed as of today. The company’s intellectual property is in the process of being sold. We cannot speak to the purchaser’s future plans with the company. All inquiries should be referred to the buyer, which will be disclosed once the transaction is closed.”

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A representative for Tiger Capital Group and A&G Realty Partners, which has been retained to dispose of all real estate assets, said they believe the message on the sites has to do with the pending sale of Bon-Ton’s intellectual property, which Tiger and A&G were not involved with.

According to court records, Hilco Streambank was proposed “to assist [the Debtors] with the disposition and monetization of the Debtors’ [Intellectual Property], including, but not limited to, trademarks, copyrights, domain names, customer lists, and related data.”

A representative of Hilco Streambank could not immediately be reached for comment.

Bon-Ton, which had headquarters in Milwaukee and York, Pennsylvania, filed for bankruptcy in February. The company’s management sought to find a buyer that would continue operating the business. A group of mall owners and a private equity firm signed a letter of intent to potentially buy the business and keep it afloat, but a bankruptcy judge denied the payment of a work fee to help the deal move forward. The buyer group opposed the payment of the fee, arguing the bid procedures and case law didn’t allow for it.

After the deal fell through, the only remaining bidders were proposing to liquidate the company and the Great American/Tiger group won out. According to court documents, the group agreed to a deal worth $793.6 million for Bon-Ton’s assets.

See more in a report from WISN-TV Channel 12, a media partner of BizTimes Milwaukee.

BizTimes Milwaukee editor Andrew Weiland contributed to this report.

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