CEO: Bon-Ton may close at least 40 stores

Published 10:00 pm Monday, November 20, 2017

Fate of Albert Lea’s Herberger’s is still unknown

By Deb Nicklay

Following a dismal third quarter in sales, the CEO of Bon-Ton stores, the parent company of Younkers in Austin and Herberger’s in Albert Lea, said in a press statement the company would close at least 40 stores through the next year.

How the Austin and Albert Lea stores would fare in the reduction is not known. CEO William Tracy said Thurdsay the company was not ready to announce a list of stores, according to a story in USA Today.

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However, the investment research company Morningstar released a list of stores it thought were at risk of closure — and none were from Minnesota. However, none on the list could be confirmed through Bon-Ton officials.

In addition to Younkers and Herberger’s, Bon-Ton operates department stores under the brand names Bergner’s, Bon-Ton, Carson’s, and Elder-Beerman.

Bon-Ton, like many department stores, has been shouldering declines in traffic due to online sales, Morningstar said.

Tracy said company sales lagged by 6.6 percent compared to a year ago during the third quarter, and would work to develop “a sustainable capital structure to support the business.”

“While results in the third quarter fell short of our expectations, we are taking more aggressive actions to fuel improved performance as well as strengthen our financial position,” Tracy said. “We are also focused on cost reductions through the continued rollout of our profit improvement initiatives. In addition, we expect to implement a significant store rationalization program and plan to close at least 40 locations through 2018. This will enable us with moving forward with a more productive store footprint and redirecting capital expenditures toward investments designed to drive sales growth.”