Bon-Ton Stores Q2 Loss Narrows, Cuts Full Year Outlook

BonTonYork, PA–Bon-Ton Stores has narrowed its net loss slightly in the second quarter.

Net loss in the second quarter narrowed to $36.19 million, or $1.86 a share, from $37.33 million, or $195 a share in the previous year. The 2013 results included $3.9 million of debt extinguishment costs associated with certain of the company’s senior notes.

On average, analysts expected a loss of $1.54 a share for the quarter.

Total sales for the quarter grew 1.1% to $563.45 million from $557.14 million in the prior-year period. Analysts expected revenues of $577.05 million. Comparable store sales increased 1.6% compared with last year.

The gross margin rate for the quarter dropped to 36.6% of net sales from 37% in the prior year period, primarily due to increased net markdowns and delivery costs.

Gross margin decreased to 36.6% from 37% in the same quarter last year, mainly due to increased net markdowns and higher delivery costs.

For the full year, Bon-Ton now expects earnings per share in the range of 25 to 55 cents, assuming comparable store sales growth of 1% to 2%.  Analysts expects full year earnings of 57 cents a share. In May, Bon-Ton said it expected full year earnings in the range of 40 to 70 cents a share, on projected comparable store sales growth of 1% to 3%.

CEO Brendan Hoffman said: “We were pleased we achieved comparable store sales growth, particularly given the challenging promotional environment and continuation of soft traffic trends. E-commerce delivered another strong quarter driven primarily by increased conversion. We continued to carefully manage our inventory, ending the quarter approximately flat on a comparable store basis as compared with the prior year period and positioning us well for the fall season.”

In late July, Bon-Ton named Kathryn Bufano as its next CEO, replacing Brendan Hoffman. Hoffman will step down before the February 2015 contract is up; Bufano starts on August 25.

The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. is based in York, Penn. and Milwaukee, Wisc. It operates 272 stores in 25 states under the Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers names.

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