Bon-Ton to Close 40 Stores in 2018
With sales continuing to decline and losses mounting, Bon-Ton Stores Inc. said Thursday it plans to close at least 40 more stores by the end of 2018. Eliminating 40 stores would represent the shutdown of about a sixth of Bon-Ton's 260 department stores, furniture galleries and clearance centers in the United States. Up to this point, Bon-Ton, which is the parent company of Boston Store, Younkers and several other department store brands, has resisted the mass shuttering of locations. Earlier this year, Bon-Ton said it planned to close only four to six stores in 2017.
Total Retail's Take: At a time when there's some positive sentiment around the retail industry — Wal-Mart, Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap, Foot Locker all recently reported earnings that beat expectations and sent tock prices higher — the momentum hasn't extended to department stores. The category has been particularly challenged in 2017, with the struggles of Sears, Macy's, J.C. Penney highlighting the group. Bon-Ton is no exception. The retailer has lost money for the past six years, and reported Thursday that it lost $44.9 million in its fiscal third quarter as sales fell 7.6 percent. Through the first three quarters of 2017, Bon-Ton lost $135.4 million. It's hard to sustain the business at this rate, so the company is taking the cost-cutting measure of closing stores. Without a turnaround in its near future, Bon-Ton could be the next retail bankruptcy.