Bon-Ton to close at least 40 stores

The Bon-Ton Stores is slashing its store base as its losses continue to mount.

The struggling department store retailer plans to close at least 40 stores through 2018. The company, which operates 260 stores under several banners, announced the news in its third quarter financial results, describing the closures as a "significant store rationalization program."

"This will enable us with moving forward with a more productive store footprint and redirecting capital expenditures toward investments designed to drive sales growth," said William Tracy, president and CEO.

For the third quarter, The Bon-Ton posted a new loss of $44.9 million, or $2.19 per share, compared with net loss of $31.6 million, or $1.58 per share, in the year-ago period. Same-store sales fell 6.6% amid "unseasonably warm weather," the company said. Total sales decreased 7.6% to $545.3 million.

The debt-laden retailer said it is working with advisors to proactively engage with its debt holders to establish a sustainable capital structure to support the business.

"We believe that the actions we are taking position us to drive improved and consistent financial performance over the long term," Tracy said. "With our new merchandising initiatives in place and more seasonable November weather, we are already seeing a positive comparable store sales trend and believe we are well-positioned for a successful holiday season."

The Bon-Ton operates 260 stores, which includes nine furniture galleries and four clearance centers, in 24 states in the Northeast, Midwest and upper Great Plains under the Bon-Ton, Bergner's, Boston Store, Carson's, Elder-Beerman, Herberger's and Younkers banners.