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Bon-Ton Inc. announces it’s closing 40 stores

Patty Murray

Wisconsin Public Radio

With sales declining, Bon-Ton Inc. announced Thursday it will close 40 department stores by the end of 2018.

The company — with headquarters in York, Pennsylvania, and Milwaukee — operates stores under the names of Younkers, Carson's and Elder-Beerman, Boston Store, and Herberger's.

Bon-Ton's overall third quarter sales were down 7.6 percent compared to the same time last year. It's per share earnings are down $2.19 compared to the same time last year. Bon-Ton posted back-to-back losses in 2015 and 2016.

In a conference call with stock analysts Thursday, Bon-Ton’s President and CEO William Tracy said the company is implementing "a comprehensive turnaround plan for Bon-Ton," and that it's re-negotiating leases.

"We are engaging with all of our landlords to bring our occupancy costs more in line with our sales and store performance," he said.

While renegotiating the leases, Bon-Ton is going to focus on holiday and special occasion merchandise.

"In January we anticipate relaunching our wedding gift registry services for our customers. We have taken steps to enhance the service for customers who register with us," he said. 

Tracy wouldn’t say where those targeted locations are. Bon-Ton operates 260 stores across the United States, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

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