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Bon-Ton affirms guidance despite loss

York,Pa.– After better-than-expected performance in February and March, April’s weather woes set back first-quarter results at the Bon-Ton Stores, executives said during a conference call with analysts this morning.

For the quarter ended May 5, Bon-Ton reported a net loss of $29.3, or $1.78 per share, compared to a net loss of $10.8 million, or 66 cents per share, during last year’s first quarter.

Following last year’s acquisition of Carson ’s, sales climbed 31.3% to $737.6 million. Carson ’s contributed $476.9 million to the total, with other income ringing in at $22.6 million.

President and ceo Bud Bergren noted that the first quarter is historically a clearance-driven period with low margins. “I would like to reiterate what we said a year ago -- the integration of the Carson 's and Bon-Ton is a two-year process. We will not have a 'normalized' year until 2008,” he said.

Sales have improved in May, and Bon-Ton execs expect the fiscal year performance to fall in the lower end of the range of its earlier guidance: earnings per share of $3.40 to $3.50 and EBITDA of $315 to $320 million."

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