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6 Retailers Banking on a New CEO in 2012

Stocks in this article: JCP TLB AVP NILE BONT AEO

Bon-Ton Stores

Bon-Ton's (BONT) CEO Byron Bergren announced his resignation from the company in November.

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.

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