Bon-Ton warns of mass layoff if company is not sold

Company plans to conduct bankruptcy auction on April 9


The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. on Friday filed a notice with the state Department of Workforce Development that 2,255 Wisconsin employees could potentially lose their jobs if the struggling retail company does not find a going-concern buyer at an auction next week.

Those employees work at the company’s corporate office in downtown Milwaukee and at stores in Brookfield, Eau Claire, Glendale, Greendale, Janesville, Madison, Marshfield, Milwaukee, Racine and Wauwatosa, according to the notice.


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Besides Wisconsin, Bon-Ton has filed WARN notices in several other states including Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana and South Dakota over the last two days. It is legally required to provide employees with 60 days notice before they lose their jobs.

These layoffs will only occur if the company fails to attract a buyer at a bankruptcy auction scheduled for Monday, April 9.

“We are required to provide notification under certain state and federal laws of potential job losses even as we work diligently to complete a sale of the company as a going concern,” a Bon-Ton spokeswoman said. “Bon-Ton is in active discussions with an investor group to acquire the company in a court-supervised sale process. We are encouraged by the interest in Bon-Ton and we hope that jobs will be preserved through a sale process. We remain committed to pursuing the best path forward for the company and its stakeholders, including Bon-Ton associates.”

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The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., the parent company of Boston Store, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February. Its stores, e-commerce and mobile platforms under the Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers nameplates are open and operating as usual.

Bon-Ton, which has 22,745 employees, recently announced plans to close 47 stores this year, including nine stores in Wisconsin. The only store in the Milwaukee area that is slated to close is the Boston Store clearance store on South 27th Street in Milwaukee.

At this time, no additional stores are going to be closed, unless the company fails to attract a buyer and is forced to liquidate.

On March 30, the company, which has dual headquarters in Milwaukee and York, Pennsylvania, announced that it is in active discussions with “interested parties involved in a going-concern bid to acquire the company in a bankruptcy court-supervised sale process.

The company is expected to conduct an auction under the U.S. bankruptcy code on April 9 in New York, after which a court hearing would take place on April 13 to approve a sale.

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

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