He will remain at the chain until the company can find his successor and will then transition to chairman. Bergren, who took the reins at Bon-Ton in 2004, did not provide a reason for his departure.
Shares of the company have languished for the latter part of Bergren's tenure, and John Delta, chief operating officer at Management CV, a research firm that serves institutional money managers and hedge funds, said he is skeptical about Bergren's move to lead the board post-retirement.In its third quarter, Bon-Ton reported a loss of $1.21 a share, significantly wider than analysts' estimates, while revenue plunged 6.3% to $656.1 million. The company's decision to raise prices on some apparel to offset higher costs had a negative impact, with same-store sales tumbling 5.9%. Bon-Ton also reduced its full-year outlook. It now expects a loss of between 65 cents a share and a profit of 25 cents, from a prior forecast of a profit of 75 cents to $1. Before becoming CEO of Bon-Ton, Bergren served as president and chief executive of Elder-Beerman Stores, which Bon-Ton acquired in 2003. Prior to that, he served in various positions at Belk department stores. Bon-Ton, which operates 276 departments stores in the Northeast and Midwest, plans to make a major push into e-commerce in 2012 which would ultimately require a leader with the right technology and online merchandising background.