The only two bids at the start of a bankruptcy auction for department store chain Bon-Ton Stores Inc. were from liquidators, signaling the end for the company, according to reports Tuesday morning. Reuters said Bon-Ton will go out of business without a bid from a going-concern bidder. The New York research firm Reorg Research, also citing sources, likewise reported that two liquidators were the bidders in the Monday auction. Bon-Ton executives had hoped to find a buyer that would help turn around the fortunes of the retailer, which is the parent company of Boston Store, Younkers and other stores.
Total Retail's Take: The struggles of traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, especially department stores, has been a continual industry theme. Bon-Ton was unable to make changes to its business quickly enough to counter declining foot traffic, increased online competition, and changing consumer behaviors. Bon-Ton appears to be going out of business, joining the likes of Toys"R"Us, Sports Authority and others. Perhaps the brand will continue in some form online, as other brands have done after closing their stores, including bebe and The Limited.