York, Pa. -- Bon-Ton Stores said Thursday that its first-quarter loss grew as it booked hefty debt-related charges and sales declined almost 2%. Management blamed unseasonably cold and wet weather for weak sales of seasonal apparel, which forced the retailer to take markdowns and other adjustments.
The company reported a loss of $36 million for the three months ended April 30, compared with a loss of $23.5 million in the same period last year.
The results included a charge of 53 cents a share related to an early loan payoff and refinancing of a revolving credit line.
Net sales for the quarter fell to $649.9 million, from $661.4 million a year earlier. Same-sales slipped 1.2%.
Despite the results, Bon-Ton president and CEO Bud Bergren said the company is pleased with its recent sales performance, now that the weather has become more seasonable.
"Looking ahead, we are comfortable with our current inventory levels and believe the merchandise initiatives we have in place will generate improved performance as we enter the summer season and our apparel assortments change going into fall," Bergren said. "We believe we are well positioned to achieve profitable long-term sales growth."