Bon-Ton widens loss in Q3

Bon-Ton will liquidate.

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., which has dual headquarters in Milwaukee and York, Pa., today reported a third quarter net loss of $34 million, or $1.72 per share, compared with a net loss of $11 million, or 57 cents per share, in the third quarter of 2014.

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

The retailer reported an operating loss of $18.3 million, compared with operating income of $5 million in the same period a year ago.

Quarterly revenue totaled $623.4 million, down from $642.7 million in the third quarter of 2014.

Comparable store sales were down 2.6 percent year-over-year.

The company increased its borrowing capabilities during the quarter, bringing its total revolving commitments to $830 million.

Bon-Ton operates 270 department stores in 26 states under the Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers brands.

The company is among several brick-and-mortar based retailers struggling with decreased consumer traffic as buyers move toward online shopping.

“Clearly, our third quarter results were challenged as sales were pressured by unseasonably warm weather, which significantly impacted our cold-weather classifications, and by continued weakness in overall traffic trends,” said Kathryn Bufano, president and chief executive officer of Bon-Ton. “However, customers strongly responded to our expanded brand offerings and we also saw sustained momentum in certain core categories. Recognizing that the competitive environment is likely to continue, we remain focused on creating a differentiated and compelling product assortment and leveraging our home town strategy. We also continued to control our expenses, resulting in a net reduction in SG&A in the period. We ended the quarter in a healthy inventory position in terms of freshness and content, primed for holiday selling.

“Looking ahead, we are not anticipating major changes in the retail environment in the near term. Accordingly, we are pursuing a number of avenues to drive additional process improvements and further reduce expenses.”

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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