Bon Ton Stores Reports Loss
June 1, 2009,
The home department merited little mention as The Bon-Ton Stores reported its results two weeks ago — other than naming LivingQuarters among the best performing private label brands and furniture among the worst performing categories.
But the company boosted gross margin during the quarter by 80 basis points to 34.8% of net sales as Bon-Ton chopped same-store inventory by 11% and knocked clearance inventory back 16%. It also lowered selling, general and administrative expenses by $18.9 million.
Sales fell 8.0% to $644.5 million, with comps off 8.6%.
The company planned better business down and shifted buyer's emphasis to moderately priced goods, according to Tony Buccina, vice chairman and president — merchandising. "The customer is really telling us she wants value."
The 280-unit regional department store chain will continue to emphasize leaner inventories, moderate goods and value-oriented key items going forward, he said.
Bon-Ton also intends to become "very aggressive" with e-commerce, a small but rapidly growing sales vehicle.
"We will be getting more vendors and skus on the site," Buccina said, adding Bon-Ton also will expand assortments of vendors already on the site.