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Bon-Ton Taps Alfaro for Private Label

Designer Victor Alfaro is getting back into fashion by teaming with The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., the York, Pa.-based department store chain, on a major private label program, according to sources.

Designer Victor Alfaro is getting back into fashion by teaming with The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., the York, Pa.-based department store chain, on a major private label program, according to sources.

Alfaro has had an array of stints and unusual collaborations during his career, from creating his own collection to serving as creative director of Wet Seal. In December, he launched Vistaartanddesign.com, a Web site portal for art galleries, furniture and auction houses. He recently moved from Los Angeles to New York, and for the last several years has been working behind the scenes as a consultant on design projects.

Alfaro, reached in Paris on Monday, declined comment, as did Bon-Ton vice president of investor and public relations Mary Kerr.

According to sources, the Victor Alfaro line will be among the biggest private label ventures ever by Bon-Ton, representing a step up for the chain in terms of quality and price point. Bon-Ton could use the lift. The retailer’s stock has dropped about $50 in the past year to just over $6 currently. For the third quarter of fiscal 2007, the company reported a net loss of $19.4 million, or $1.17 a diluted share, while total sales decreased 2.9 percent.

Bon-Ton operates the Bon-Ton, Carson Pirie Scott and Boston Store chains. It also is expected to be among the highest quality, with tailored sportswear and high-end fabrics, including some from Italy, being important components.

In a related development, Bon-Ton vice chairman David Zant, who supervised private brands, merchandise planning and Internet, has left the company to become Belk Inc.’s executive vice president and general merchandising manager of men’s and home.

Zant’s responsibilities are being assumed by Anthony Buccina, vice chairman and president of merchandising, private brands and Internet marketing, and Byron L. Bergren, president and ceo.

Other key private brands at Bon-Ton include Relativity in apparel and Karen Neuburger in home.

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. operates 280 department stores, which includes 10 furniture galleries, in 23 states under the Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson Pirie Scott, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers nameplates. The company also operates three stores under the Parisian nameplate.