Can Bon Ton Stores return from the dead?
Bon Ton Stores, which last week completed the liquidation of all its banners, is reportedly planning a comeback.
“We’ve got great news. Bon Ton is coming back!” a message reads on Bon Ton’s website. “Stay tuned for updates over the coming weeks. We appreciate your loyalty & look forward to being able to serve you again soon.”
Similar messages were posted on the websites of Bon-Ton Stores’ other banners: Boston Store, Carson’s, Bergner’s, Elder-Beerman, Younkers and Herberger’s.
A source familiar with plans told USA Today that the prospective owners plan to bring back Bon Ton Stores as mostly an online retailer with a limited number of brick-and-mortar locations.
The company had sought a sale after filing for bankruptcy protection in February, but a deal with a group of mall owners and a private equity firm fell through. In April, a joint venture between liquidators and a group of debtholders acquired Bon Ton’s remaining inventory, and going-out-of-business sales began.
A separate effort has been ongoing to sell Bon-Ton Stores’ intellectual property, including trademarks, domain names and customer lists.
Bon Ton Stores, which had not made a profit since 2010, largely blamed heightened online competition for its downfall. The retailer said in court papers, “Bon-Ton, with a significant geographic operating footprint and operating presence, is dependent on store traffic, which has decreased as customers shift increasingly toward online retailers.”
Pressure from other anchors, like J.C. Penney, Kohl’s and Macy’s, was also cited.
If successful, Bon-Ton Stores would become one of the few retailers to come back post-liquidation. Montgomery Ward, Sharper Image and Circuit City are among the few that have at least reestablished an online presence.
- Bon-Ton may be on the verge of a comeback after bankruptcy – USA Today
- Bankrupt Bon-Ton Stores Inc. may be revived and reinvented – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
- Is Younkers coming back? Website suggests defunct department store may return – Des Moines Register
- Great American Group And Tiger Capital Group To Immediately Liquidate All 212 Bon-Ton Stores – Great American
- Why did Bon-Ton fail while Macy’s did not? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see an opportunity for Bon Ton Stores with all its banners to make a return? What will be the keys to success?