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Bon-Ton Stores' CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

The statements contained in this conference call which are not historical facts may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results might differ materially from those projected in such statements due to a number of risks and uncertainties, including those set forth in the cautionary note in the earnings release and all of which are described in the company's filings with the SEC.

I would now like to turn the call over to Mr. Brendan Hoffman.

Brendan L. Hoffman

Good morning, and thank you for joining us. I'll begin with some opening comments, Keith will provide financial details on fourth quarter and full year 2011 results and outline the financial guidance and assumptions for 2012. Tony will discuss the fourth quarter's merchandise results and the merchandising initiatives for 2012. After that, I will make closing remarks and then we will be available to address your questions.

I will begin by saying how happy I am to be here. I've been on board for only one month and most of my time has been spent in becoming familiar with the company and its people. I've had many one-on-one meetings with the senior leadership group, as well as larger group meetings with the different peer man [ph] heads and their leadership teams. In addition, I've spent a great deal of time visiting stores. I visited over 30 stores in multiple states to try to get a better understanding of the different banner names, store sizes and locations that make up our portfolio of stores. My initial reaction is that I'm more excited about the opportunities that we have in front of us than I had anticipated.

Now for a brief overview of the results from our strategic initiatives that began in mid-September. Sales in our 7 pilot stores significantly outperformed the company. We expanded and updated in better fashion assortments, we reallocated square footage to more productive categories and added new brands, our marketing campaign of Rediscover Bon-Ton resonated with the customers in these markets. Customer feedback from our pilot stores is very positive. They noticed the changes made to their store, the assortment and the improvement in their overall shopping experience. This was evidenced by the results in these stores.

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