Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. (OTCMKTS:BONT) said it will shutter its Younkers store at the Westwood Mall in Marquette, Michigan. Younkers, which is a subsidiary of Bon-Ton, has locations in the Midwest, mostly in shopping malls.
The Younkers department store at Westwood Mall will close in early 2018, when its lease expires on January 31. The closure will impact 68 employees working at this location.
The closure of the Marquette Younkers store is one of 40 Bon-Ton Inc. store closures announced earlier in November.
Younkers Store at Westwood Mall to Close in January 2018
Bon-Ton confirmed plans to close its Younkers department store located in the Westwood Mall in Marquette, Michigan. The Younkers in the Westwood Mall will be one of 40 Bon-Ton Inc. stores closing its doors in January.
A full 68 employees will be affected by the store closure. They will have the chance to interview for available positions in other locations or receive severance and career training.
Younkers, along with stores belonging to Kohl’s Corporation (NYSE:KSS) and J C Penney Company Inc (NYSE:JCP), is one of the three of the biggest anchors at the mall. The closure of Younkers will result in even more empty floor space at the Westwood Mall. According to the website, of the 29 available locations for rent, 13 are vacant. That’s 45% of the mall.
Younkers Store Closing Part of the Bon-Ton Store Closures Announced Earlier
The Younkers store closure is part of previous closings announced by Bon-Ton. Thanks to declining foot traffic and sales, Bon-Ton announced that it was going to close at least 40 locations across the country by the end of 2018.
Closing 40 stores represents about 16% of Bon-Ton’s 260 department stores, furniture galleries, and clearance centers in the U.S.
Bon-Ton, which is the parent company of Younkers, Boston Store, and a number of other department store brands, said earlier this year it was only going to close four or six stores in 2017.
But the department store landscape continues to crumble, and Bon-Ton has been losing money for the past six years. It got worse in 2017. In the first quarter, Bon-Ton announced that comparable store sales fell 8.8%, and in the second quarter, comparable sales fell 6.1%. In the third quarter, comparable sales fell 6.6%
Overall, Bon-Ton’s third-quarter net loss widened more than 40% to $44.9 million, or $2.19 per share. Its net loss for the first three quarters increased significantly to $135.4 million, or $6.68 per share.
The future doesn’t look bright either. The company is projecting a loss for the entire year to be in a range of $2.86 to $3.35 per share and adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization of $100.0 million-$110 million on a 4.5%-5.5% decline in comparable store sales.
This, of course, assumes that the company will see a big improvement in its fourth-quarter business, and that momentum carries into 2018. If sales continue to deteriorate, Bon-Ton could be the first department store to declare bankruptcy since the Great Recession.
“Younkers store at Westwood Mall to close,” Upper Michigan Source, November 28, 2017.
“Store Directory,” The Westwood Mall, last accessed November 29, 2017.
“The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. Reports Third Quarter Fiscal 2017 Results,” Bon-Ton Stores, Inc., November 16, 2017.