To better execute its direct-to-consumer e-commerce strategy, The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. said it opened a 743,000 square-foot merchandise fulfillment center in West Jefferson, Ohio.

The opening of the center is essentially a consolidation of five distribution centers. The center is “highly automated,” and “offers a significant expansion to the company’s shipping capacity with an estimated 40,000 units per day and 350,000 units per day at its peak during the holiday season,” the company said in a statement.

Kathryn Bufano, president and chief executive officer, said the goal of the center is to elevate the level of service for shoppers. “The facility was designed to improve operational efficiency and enhance the overall customer experience from beginning to end.”

“The facility, which began transitioning fulfillment operations in June, was designed with the customer in mind and supports the company’s expanding e-commerce business and aggressive omni-channel growth,” the company added.

The site was chosen as the most central location to best serve the company’s store base. The retailer operates in the Northeast, Midwest and upper Great Plains. Aside from its namesake brand, Bon-Ton also operates the Boston Store, Bergner’s, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers.

“This new state-of-the-art facility was critical to accommodate the rapid growth we are experiencing in our e-commerce business,” Bufano said.

The retailer recently hired a chief operating officer, and also shifted responsibilities for its top merchandisers. Expanding into e-commerce has been a top priority for the company.

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