USA department store chain Bon-Ton heads to liquidation

Galtero Lara
Abril 17, 2018

Bon-Ton has not yet responded to the reports.

Shoppers make their way past The Bon-Ton at the Wyoming Valley Mall, one of two stores the chain operates in Luzerne County. The auction ran late Monday and is still underway, according to NY research firm Reorg Research.

York-based Bon-Ton, which has an anchor at Berkshire Mall, Wyomissing, had been working with two mall owners - Namdar Realty Group and Washington Prime Group - and DW Parters, a New York-based credit firm, to try and save the department store chain. Boston Store, for example, was founded in 1897, and Younkers in 1856.

But U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Mary Walrath said last week she would not approve that payment, noting Bon-Ton was not paying the fees of any other bidders and that the offer from the investor group did not amount to a qualified bid.

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According to Reuters, once the company selects a winning bidder and the proposed deal is approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware, the liquidator can begin selling the inventory, store leases, fixtures and intellectual property.

As the Business Journal pointed out, Reuters has reported that only liquidators have bid and that Bon-Ton will go out of business.

Stores operated by Bon-Ton include Bergner's, Boston Stores, Carson's, Elder-Beerman, Herberger's and Younkers, but most of its stores have histories that predate the parent company.

But many storied retailers have struggled amid the current industry disruption from low-margin discounters such as Walmart Inc (WMT.N) and the increasing popularity of online shopping, dominated by Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O).

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