The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ: BONT) today announced comparable store sales in the five weeks ended September 29, 2012 increased 0.6%. Total sales increased 0.7% to $288.9 million in the current year compared with $286.9 million in the prior year period.
Year-to-date comparable store sales decreased 0.1%. Year-to-date total sales decreased 0.2% to $1,705.3 million compared with $1,709.4 million in the same period last year.
Brendan Hoffman, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, “We gained momentum the final two weeks in the month and finished strong. We largely attribute our performance to a better balanced merchandise assortment and refined marketing efforts. Our multi-channel methods of communicating with our customers created excitement and traffic. In addition, our customers continued to respond favorably to the new fall receipts. The best performing categories were fine jewelry, better sportswear, dresses, shoes, men’s sportswear and ladies’ large sizes. Our eCommerce business delivered a strong double-digit sales gain. Our inventory management efforts have us well-positioned to take advantage of sales opportunities in season.”
Keith Plowman, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, stated, “Our excess borrowing capacity under our revolving credit facility was approximately $402 million at the end of September.”The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc., with corporate headquarters in York, Pennsylvania and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, operates 272 department stores, which includes 11 furniture galleries, in 23 states in the Northeast, Midwest and upper Great Plains under the Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson Pirie Scott, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers nameplates and, in the Detroit, Michigan area, under the Parisian nameplate. The department stores offer a broad assortment of national and private brand fashion apparel and accessories for women, men and children, as well as cosmetics and home furnishings. For further information, please visit the investor relations section of the Company’s website at http://investors.bonton.com. Certain information included in this press release contains statements that are forward-looking within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements, which may be identified by words such as “may,” “could,” “will,” “plan,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “project,” “intend” or other similar expressions, involve important risks and uncertainties that could significantly affect results in the future and, accordingly, such results may differ from those expressed in any forward-looking statements made by or on behalf of the Company. Factors that could cause such differences include, but are not limited to, risks related to retail businesses generally; a significant and prolonged deterioration of general economic conditions which could negatively impact the Company, including the potential write-down of the current valuation of intangible assets and deferred taxes; risks related to the agreement governing the Company’s proprietary credit card program; potential increase in pension obligations; consumer spending patterns, debt levels, and the availability and cost of consumer credit; additional competition from existing and new competitors; inflation; deflation; changes in the costs of fuel and other energy and transportation costs; weather conditions that could negatively impact sales; uncertainties associated with expanding or remodeling existing stores; the ability to attract and retain qualified management; the dependence upon relationships with vendors and their factors; a data security breach or system failure; the ability to reduce or control SG&A expenses, including initiatives to reduce expenses and improve efficiency; operational disruptions; unsuccessful marketing initiatives; the failure to successfully implement our key strategies, including initiatives to improve our merchandising, marketing and operations; adverse outcomes in litigation; the incurrence of unplanned capital expenditures; the ability to obtain financing for working capital, capital expenditures and general corporate purpose; the impact of new regulatory requirements including the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 and the Health Care Reform Act; the inability or limitations on the Company’s ability to favorably adjust the valuation allowance on deferred tax assets; and the financial condition of mall operators. Additional factors that could cause the Company’s actual results to differ from those contained in these forward-looking statements are discussed in greater detail under Item 1A of the Company’s Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.