The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. reported Tuesday that its net income for the fourth quarter ended Jan. 30, 2016 fell 29.4 percent to $50.6 million from $71.7 million in the year-ago period.
On a diluted per share basis, net income in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015 was $2.42, versus $3.55 a year ago.
Comparable-store sales decreased 1.9 percent in the last quarter.
Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization totaled $94 million, versus $113.1 million a year ago.
The latest EBITDA figure includes $3.9 million in severance costs associated with previously-announced expense reductions and a $600,000 gain associated with an insurance settlement. EBITDA in the fourth quarter of 2014 included $10.8 million gain associated with the insurance settlement.
For all of 2015, the company suffered a net loss of $57.1 million, or $2.90 per diluted share, versus a $7 million loss, or $0.36 per diluted share, the year before.
“Despite external headwinds and unseasonable weather that continued into the fourth quarter, we successfully managed elements within our control, reducing SG&A expense for the year and ending the period with inventories below prior year levels,” said Kathryn Bufano, president and chief executive officer. “We were pleased with our progress made on a number of strategic initiatives, including the introduction of key new brands and the expansion of localized merchandise content. Our omnichannel sales achieved double-digit growth and we increased our online capacity with our new, fully-automated West Jefferson e-commerce facility,” in Ohio. “Additionally, we successfully addressed our capital structure by increasing the borrowing capacity under our revolving credit facility and retiring two mortgage facilities in advance of their April 2016 maturity date.
“As we continue to execute on our key initiatives in 2016, we look to deliver an improved gross margin rate and gross profit dollars through prudent inventory management, increased sell-thru of regular price merchandise and greater efficiencies in our distribution network. Central to our success is accelerated progress in our omnichannel strategies to coalesce our efforts in stores, online and mobile as we look to engage our customer at all touch points.” The chain will start to implement a buy online, pick-up in store service in the second quarter, with an anticipated roll-out to all doors in September this year.
For the year, comparable store sales decreased 1.3 percent, largely due to the poor performance of cold-weather merchandise and continued weakness in traffic trends. Total sales in the period decreased 1.4 percent to $2.72 billion from $2.76 billion in fiscal 2014.
For fiscal 2016, the company expects adjusted EBITDA in a range of $140 million to $150 million. Loss per diluted share is expected to be in a range of 50 cents to $1 and cash flow in a range of $38 million to $48 million. The company sees comparable sales ranging from flat to 1 percent ahead.