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Bon-Ton misses Q4 estimates

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Weak traffic and unseasonably warm weather impacted Bon-Ton’s earnings for the fourth quarter.

For the period ending January 28, 2017, the department store chain reported net income of $44.7 million, or $2.09 per diluted share, short of analyst estimates by 37 cents.

Revenue fell 5.5% to $877.3 million for the period, and comparable store sales decreased 4.7%.

For the full year, Bon Ton's net loss widened to $63.4 million from $57.1 million a year ago. Total revenue for the year decreased 4.3% to $2.6 billion.

"While the continued weak traffic trends and unseasonably warm weather pressured sales in the fourth quarter, we expanded gross margin by 145 basis points and grew adjusted EBITDA by 8%” said Kathryn Bufano, president and CEO. “In addition, we exceeded our cost reduction goal by $7 million, with net savings of $31 million for the year.”

The company also made progress on a number of initiatives, including the introduction of its ‘Close to Home’ product assortment, and a continued to focus on its omnichannel strategy, with double-digit sales growth through its website, mobile site and its Buy Online Pick Up In-Store program.

Looking ahead to fiscal 2017, the company remains focused on its omnichannel business, refining marketing strategies, and further evolving its merchandise assortment, “with even greater emphasis on growth categories and localization,” Bufano said.

Bon-Ton Stores operates 263 department stores in 25 states under the Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers banners.

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