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

Stocks in this article: BONT

Also shoe expansions in 16 stores, 7 of which were the pilot stores, produced very strong sales results. We significantly increased the square footage of our shoe departments and added new brands for the assortment. We believe this represents a meaningful opportunity going forward.

Based on the success of these pilot stores, we will expand the strategic initiatives to 67 additional stores over the course of this year. We will focus on updated merchandise, we will create visual enhancements and new fixturing, we will renovate and refresh stores, including carpet, lighting, fitting rooms, restrooms, et cetera. In addition to this initiative and based on my early assessment of the company, the other areas of focus for 2012 will include: Reallocating square footage in our stores to increase focus on high-growth categories like ladies shoes. This may include eliminating lower producing categories in smaller stores that are space challenged; increase the attention given to our small stores and niche markets where there is less competition, which provides an opportunity to achieve outside comp store growth increases if we execute more effectively; reengineer our marketing cadence to ensure that our message to the customer is clear and concise, including refreshing some of our events; drive traffic with effective marketing using traditional and new media channels to communicate to the customer her way and reaching younger customers as well; continue to use targeted direct mail to entice our core customer with our value, fashion and quality; Customer First, we have a renewed focus on enhancing our customer shopping experience. We will strive to ensure every customer easily understands our merchandise assortments, promotions, ability to order a size and/or color we don't have in stock for her, either through a well-trained associate or using an online kiosk in a comfortable environment. We will continue to grow our eCommerce business to make sure it's our biggest store in each category and drive sales growth to reach over 5% of our total sales over the next few years.

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