The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. said that comparable-store sales for the nine weeks ended Jan. 2 slipped 1.6 percent.

That slippage was in line with guidance the company provided on Nov. 19. The company said total sales for November and December were $784.4 million, down 1.5 percent from $796.4 million in the same year-ago period.

Kathryn Bufano, president and chief executive officer, said the retailer saw “significant improvement” in holiday sales following soft selling trends during a warm November.

“The rebound began with a successful Black Friday event and extended through the month of December,” Bufano said, adding that the company “drove double-digit sales growth in our omnichannel operation.”

Based on current sales trends, Bufano said the company is maintaining its full-year adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization guidance of between $110 million to $120 million, excluding certain costs connected with planned expense reductions in fiscal 2016. “We expect to be at the low end of this range given higher level of promotional activity, particularly in seasonal goods. The decrease in sales of cold-weather merchandise, in fact, exceeded increases we otherwise achieved in non-seasonal merchandise categories,” Bufano said.

The ceo noted that the company was seeing an increase in traction on some merchandising initiatives, and “will remain focused on continued execution while prudently managing our inventory levels and expenses.”

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


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