Soft Mall Traffic Weighs On Bon-Ton Q2

Soft mall traffic continued to weigh on Bon-Ton in the second quarter, as the retailer posted a decline in sales and a net loss while boosting its omnichannel initiatives.

In the fiscal second quarter ended July 30, The Bon-Ton Stores recorded a net loss of $38.7 million, or $1.95 per diluted share, versus a net loss of $39.6 million, or $2.01 per diluted share, in the 2015 period. Bon-Ton missed an analyst average estimate published by MarketBeat that called for a loss of $1.75 per diluted share.

Comparable store sales decreased 2% versus the year-prior period. Total sales in the quarter slipped 2.4% to $542.4 million, with gains achieved in activewear, big and tall, denim, young men’s, young contemporary plus, women’s better handbags, hard home and furniture.

“We made progress on a number of our strategic initiatives during the second quarter, although the soft mall traffic trends continued to negatively impact our business,” said Kathryn Bufano, president and CEO, Bon-Ton. “Importantly, we delivered sales gains in our key growth categories and brands, and drove accelerated double digit growth in our omnichannel business, with a triple digit increase on our mobile site. In addition, we maintained careful inventory controls, as we reduced inventory by 6% with fewer markdowns. We also continued to make progress on our cost savings plan.”

She added, “Looking ahead, we believe that the fall assortment will be our best to date. We also expect that our omnichannel business will continue to deliver strong performance. While we are cognizant that the operating environment remains difficult, we believe that we are well positioned for the back half of the year with a strong merchandising assortment, a compelling marketing program focused on new customer acquisition, and continued discipline in inventory management and cost controls.”

Bon-Ton operates 267 stores.