Bon-Ton widens loss

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., which has dual headquarters in Milwaukee and York, Pa., today reported a fiscal first quarter net loss of $34.1 million, or $1.74 per share, compared with a net loss of $31.5 million, or $1.63 per share, in the first quarter of 2014.

The struggling retailer’s loss from operations was $19 million, compared with an operating loss of $15.6 million in the same period a year ago.

Revenue totaled $610.9 million, up from $607.5 million in the first quarter of 2014.

Comparable store sales increased 0.8 percent when compared with the prior year period.

“While we saw top-line pressure in the first quarter, we delivered a comparable store sales increase of 0.8%, with growth in both brick and mortar and eCommerce channels, and effectively managed our expenses, leveraging expense decreases to an 80-basis-point reduction in our selling, general and administrative rate,” said Kathryn Bufano, president and chief executive officer. “In addition, we saw some wins in merchandising, including strength in moderate sportswear, active wear and men’s furnishings, while efforts in our localization strategies continue to generate good results. Gross margin dollars and rate decreased due to increased eCommerce distribution and delivery costs and an unfavorable comparison to prior year permanent markdowns.

“As we move ahead, we remain focused on our initiatives—building a compelling assortment, refocusing our brand, furthering our omnichannel capabilities and maximizing operating efficiency—all designed to drive top-line and EBITDA growth. To that end, we are looking forward to the opening of our new eCommerce fulfillment center this fall as we believe there are opportunities for improved customer service and efficiencies that we expect will benefit our future performance. Overall, we believe that the strategies we have in place will yield improved results as we move through fiscal 2015.”

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