Bon-Ton continued to struggle in the third quarter, reporting a wider net loss and a comp sales decline. The retailer also said it plans to close at least 40 stores in 2018.
Comparable store sales in the third quarter of fiscal 2017, ended October 28, decreased 6.6%, reflecting in part the impact of unseasonably warm weather, the company said. Total sales in the period decreased 7.6% to $545.3 million compared with $589.9 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2016. The company highlighted its double-digit sales growth in omnichannel, which reflects sales via its website, mobile site, and Let Us Find It customer service program.
Net loss in the third quarter was $44.9 million, or $2.19 per share, compared with a net loss of $31.6 million, or $1.58 per share, in the third quarter of fiscal 2016.
William Tracy, president and CEO, Bon-Ton Stores, said, “While results in the third quarter fell short of our expectations, we are taking more aggressive actions to fuel improved performance as well as strengthen our financial position. We are executing with a sense of urgency as we work to enhance our merchandise assortment, drive growth in omnichannel, and implement a more focused marketing strategy to improve traffic and customer engagement.”
Tracy continued, “We are also focused on cost reductions through the continued rollout of our profit improvement initiatives. In addition, we expect to implement a significant store rationalization program and plan to close at least 40 locations through 2018. This will enable us with moving forward with a more productive store footprint and redirecting capital expenditures toward investments designed to drive sales growth. We are working with our advisors to proactively engage with our debt holders to establish a sustainable capital structure to support the business. We believe that the actions we are taking position us to drive improved and consistent financial performance over the long term. With our new merchandising initiatives in place and more seasonable November weather, we are already seeing a positive comparable store sales trend and believe we are well-positioned for a successful holiday season.”
Bon-Ton operates operates 260 stores in 24 states under the Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers nameplates.