Bon-Ton Narrows Q2 Loss, But Sales Softened

BonTonYork, PA—Bon-Ton Stores Inc. today posted a narrowed second quarter loss despite its sales being hindered by bad weather and rising gas prices.

For the quarter ended August 3, the parent to Boston Store, Younkers, Bergner’s, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman and Herberger’s posted a net loss of $37.3 million, or $1.95 a share, compared with a net loss of $45 million, or $2.43 a share, in the second quarter of 2012. That was still higher than analysts’ average estimate for a $1.38 a share loss.

Net sales declined 6.3% to $557.1 million. Comparable store sales slipped 6.4%.

Gross Margin Improves

Gross margin widened to 37%, compared with 36% in the second quarter last year.

Brendan Hoffman, president/ceo, said the company was “disappointed in our second quarter sales performance, but we were pleased we were able to deliver on several of our goals.

“We believe overall sales weakness was in part attributable to the adverse impact of inclement weather in our markets and higher gas prices, especially in the Northeast and Midwest, which contributed to an unfavorable shift in consumer spending patterns,” he added.

Through the first half of its fiscal year, Bon-Ton posted a net loss of $64 million, or $3.37 a share, an improvement over a loss of $85.8 million, or $4.66, in the first six months of fiscal 2012.

Looking ahead, Hoffman said the company remained focused on “execution of our key merchandising, marketing and e-commerce strategies, including the localization of our merchandise assortments and marketing programs to drive top-line growth, while maintaining disciplined inventory management and careful cost controls.”

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Jeff Prine

Jeff Prine, Editor at Large, Accessories Magazine
Jeff returns as a regular contributor to Accessories magazine. Initially Jeff worked as senior editor at Accessories more than 20 years ago and his love of the industry has followed him until present. Since his tenure here, Jeff has continued to report jewelry, watch and other luxury goods trends as executive editor at Modern Jeweler magazine, fashion director at Lustre, and as contributor on products and trends for consumer and trade publications and websites. In addition to his editorial experience, Jeff also served as an adjunct instructor for accessories merchandising at Fashion Institute of Technology. jeffp@busjour.com