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Bon-Ton Plans Ohio Fulfillment Center

Facility near Columbus expected to add 139 new jobs in the state.

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. plans to open a 743,000-square-foot fulfillment center near Columbus, Ohio, to support its growing e-commerce operations.

Bon-Ton has signed a lease with Duke Realty Corp. for the facility in West Jefferson, Ohio, and expects it to be fully operational by spring 2015.

The York, Pa.-based operator of department store nameplates including Bon-Ton, Bergner’s and Elder-Beerman expects a net gain of 139 jobs in the state due to the facility, with additional positions available during the holiday season. Terms of the lease weren’t disclosed.

E-commerce fulfillment activity currently being conducted at Bon-Ton’s four other distribution centers — one each in Allentown, Pa., and Fairborn, Ohio, and two in Rockford, Ill. — will be consolidated into the West Jefferson center once it’s completed. Associates affected by the move will have the opportunity to interview for positions in West Jefferson or receive transition benefits, including severance. Bon-Ton doesn’t expect charges related to the consolidation to have a material effect on its financial results.

“In response to the rapid growth in our e-commerce business, we are taking this step to ensure extraordinary service to our customers,” said Brendan Hoffman, president and chief executive officer of Bon-Ton. “The new fulfillment center will permit significant expansion of our shipping capacity with improved operational efficiency.”

When Bon-Ton reported financial results for the third quarter ended Nov. 2, it said its e-commerce business had “maintained its double-digit sales growth in the period, largely achieved through increased investments in digital marketing and expanded offerings of select brands.”

David Kell, director of Madison County Economic Development, said Bon-Ton’s “decision to put down roots in central Ohio is testament to the region’s distribution strength and strategic location for shipping goods to key customer areas and further enhances the Columbus region’s strong stable of e-commerce operations.”