Weather, Easter Shift Hit Bon-Ton In Q1

It was a challenging first quarter for The Bon-Ton as officials with the retailer pinned the sales decline on unfavorable weather conditions and a shift in the Easter holiday.

Total sales for the quarter ended April 29 decreased 9.3% to $536.1 million, compared with $591 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2016. Comparable store sales in the first quarter were down 8.8%.

Net loss in the first quarter was $57.3 million, or $2.86 per share, compared with net loss of $37.8 million, or $1.91 per share, in the first quarter of fiscal 2016. Adjusted EBITDA was negative $15.6 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2017, compared with $1.3 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2016.

“Our first quarter results did not meet our expectations due primarily to weak mall traffic trends, unfavorable weather and marketing challenges associated with the Easter calendar shift,” said Kathryn Bufano, president and CEO, Bon-Ton. “That said, our omnichannel business once again generated double-digit growth and we continued to expand our merchandise offering with highly recognized brands as well as exclusive and private brands that resonate with our customer.”

She said the company is working to make enhancements to its omnichannel strategy, expand its merchandise assortment with brands and categories that appeal to shoppers and elevate marketing programs to drive traffic and conversion.

Bufano is stepping down at the end of her contract on August 25 and will be replaced by William Tracy, the company’s current chief operating officer. Bufano will remain with the company through a transition period.

Looking ahead at fiscal 2017, the company continues to expect a loss per share to be in a range of $2.08 to $2.59, and adjusted EBITDA to be in a range of $115 million to $125 million. Company officials also expect a comparable sales decrease now ranging from 3% to 4%.