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Bon-Ton Stores files for bankruptcy after announcing closures

Bon-Ton Stores
Retail   The harsh reality

Bon-Ton Stores, a retailer with 260 U.S. locations, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after announcing plans to close 47 stores.

The department store chain, which includes Bergner's, Boston Store, Carson's, ElderBeerman, Herberger's and Younker, announced Sunday it filed voluntary petitions for a court-supervised financial restructuring.

The company, headquartered in Milwaukee and York, Pa., said it has received a commitment from its existing lenders for up to $725 million, and is trying to secure funding from other investors and possible sale of company or assets.

"We are currently engaged in discussions with potential investors and our debtholders on a financial restructuring plan, and the actions we are taking and intended to give us additional time and financial flexibility to evaluate options for our business," CEO Bill Tracy said in a statement.

Bon-Ton already closed four stores in January -- one is near completion and 42 additional ones are scheduled to close.

"During this court-supervised process, we plan to continue operating in the normal course and executing on our key initiatives to drive improved performance," Tracy said.

Bon-Ton operates in 23 states in the Northeast, Midwest and upper Great Plains. Its locations include nine furniture galleries and four clearance centers.

"The harsh reality is that while Bon-Ton's management put in great effort to make the business sustainable, they were always running up a down escalator," GlobalData Retail managing director Neil Saunders told CNBC.


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