The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. are slated to begin store closing sales at 42 locations beginning Thursday.
The beleaguered retailer said late last year that it would shutter 42 sites, but hadn’t disclosed which ones it would close. In addition to the previously announced store closures, Bon-Ton is slated to shutter 47 stores overall this year.
Hilco Merchant Resources will manage the store closing sales that are scheduled to start on Thursday, and expected to run for 10 to 12 weeks. The retailer said sales associates at stores that are closing will be offered the opportunity to interview for available positions at other locations.
Bill Tracy, president and chief executive officer, said, “As part of the comprehensive turnaround plan we announced in November, we are taking the next steps in our efforts to move forward with a more productive store footprint.”
He added that the company remains “focused on executing our key initiatives to drive improved performance in an effort to strengthen our capital structure to support the business going forward.”
The company is still trying to hammer out an agreement with debt holders that could help it avoid a bankruptcy filing. Bon-Ton already missed a $14 million interest payment in December. On Monday it disclosed in a regulatory filing a proposed plan to turn around the company.
That plan is focused on four key areas: store portfolio; merchandising, planning and allocation; marketing, and capital investment. The initiatives were planned over an initial two-year period.
As for the stores to be closed, 12 are under the Bon-Ton nameplate. There are also 10 Carson’s stores and two Carson’s Clearance Centers; eight Younkers stores; four Elder-Beermans; two Herberger’s and one Herberger’s Clearance Center; one Bergner’s; one Boston Store, and one Boston Store Clearance Center. The other five previously cited for closure include three Bon-Ton’s, one Younkers and one Elder-Beerman.
The plan noted in the regulatory filing Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission noted at least 20 additional stores that should be on the retailer’s “watch list” for active monitoring for signs of further deterioration. The filing also contemplates leveraging the Carson’s banner by changing 11 Bergner’s and 13 Boston Stores to Carson’s in 2018.