Bon-Ton heads to liquidation; Bergner status unclear

Cornelia Mascio
Aprile 17, 2018

Bon-Ton Stores going out of business, according to a published report.

Bon-Ton is set to wind down after a bankruptcy auction for its assets drew only liquidation bids, according to Reuters, which cited unnamed sources.

Bon-Ton, founded in 1898, operates 260 stores in 24 states and had been hoping to sell to US mall owners Namdar Realty Group and Washington Prime Group to secure a bid that would have kept many of its locations open, Reuters reported.

The Bon-Ton store in Camillus is the only Bon-Ton left in Onondaga County. The auction ran late Monday and is still underway, according to NY research firm Reorg Research.

In addition to Younkers stores at Gateway Mall in Lincoln and in Grand Island, Bon-Ton also has Herberger's locations in Hastings, Kearney, Norfolk, North Platte and Scottsbluff.

Once a liquidator is approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., the chain's inventory, store leases, fixtures and intellectual property will be sold.

Bon-Ton hasn't been profitable since 2010. Bon-Ton stores have been an anchor in about two dozen Wisconsin shopping centers and malls for decades. There is also a Younkers store in Duluth. In western NY, it operates six stores in the Buffalo and Niagara Falls area, and one each in Lakewood and Olean. But a bankruptcy court judge denied the investor group's request for an upfront payment from Bon-Ton of $500,000 to cover due diligence work on the proposed rescue plan, which led to the auction on Monday.

In a letter to the Nebraska Department of Labor, Bon-Ton said more than 350 jobs were at risk, although it only listed its two stores in Omaha as being at risk of closing.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the company has been hurt by the rise of big box retailers and online merchants.

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