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Carson's Swells Bon-Ton Results

The Bon-Ton Stores reported fourth-quarter net income of $88.4 million, up 131.4% from $38.2 million for the same period one year ago. The 280-unit department store retailer reported full-year net income of $46.9 million, up 80.4% from $26.0 million in fiscal 2006.

Quarterly sales zoomed 169% to $1.25 billion, from $464.6 million a year ago; total year sales rose 161% to $3.36 billion from $1.29 billion in fiscal 2005.

Results boomed due to two key acquisitions: the 142-unit Northern Department Store Group ("Carson's") from Saks Inc., effective March 5, 2006, and five Parisian stores from Belk Inc. on Oct. 29.

The impact is clear not only on sales and earnings, but also in terms of same-store sales. Comps fell 2.7% for Bon-Ton stores — while Carson's comps (for the 11 months since acquisition) rose 4.3%.

Keith Plowman, evp and cfo, gave guidance for fiscal 2007 that included the following components, among others:

  • EBITDA in a range of $315 million to $320 million;

  • Total sales growth of 3% to 5%;

  • Comparable stores sales flat to 1.0% increase;

  • Gross margin rate consistent with fiscal 2006;

  • Additional $8 million in cost savings;

  • Reduction of $9.5 million of integration costs; and

  • Capital expenditures of $106 million (net of landlord contributions).

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