FINANCE

Bon-Ton begins its comeback

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Bon-Ton Stores is back in business — at least, it is online.

Bon-Ton Stores and its subsidiary department store chains have re-emerged online. However, this is only the first step in the retailer’s comeback.

Bon-Ton filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Feb. 4. In September, the Merrillville, Indiana-based tech company CSC Generation Holdings purchased the bankrupt retailer’s websites, customer lists and other intellectual property for $900,000.

Through CSC, Bon-Ton, as well as its chains Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder Beerman, Herberger’s, and Younkers, have all launched new websites. All brands, which feature identical sites, display welcome pages revealing “We’re back and we’re here to stay. Our goal is to become your favorite retailer by offering better products, lower payments and more services.”

Customers can shop across a variety of categories, including women’s, men’s and children’s apparel, shoes, jewelry and accessories, as well as furniture, home and gifts. Orders of $100 or more qualifies for free shipping, and orders are shipped within two and five business days.

Through a partnership with LeaseCo, Bon-Ton also offers customers a lease-to-own financing option for their purchases.

In addition to the online stores, the company is also in the process of “re-building the business brick-by-brick,” and opening new stores in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Colorado, according to the websites.

Stores will reopen under the Bon-Ton, Carson’s, Herberger’s and the Boston Store banners. Younkers and Elder-Beerman will start out as online-only brands, according to USA Today.

While the company is slowly gaining momentum, Bon-Ton’s new president, John Voloshin, is guiding the company toward profitability. “Bon-Ton’s previous unprofitability was due to long-term leases, which contractually obligated the company to operate massive stores in communities that were “over retailed” …Now that we are freed from these unfavorable leases, we anticipate getting to profitability pretty quickly,” he said in the USA report.

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