Bon-Ton will likely close, liquidate all stores

Bon Ton owner of regional department stores like Herberger's and Younkers appears headed for liquidation. February 2018 file
Bon-Ton Bankruptcy Auction Begins

18 April, 2018

Reuters is reporting The Bon-Ton Stores may be going out of business after only liquidators showed an interest in the company at a court-supervised auction.

One liquidator group estimated their initial bid was worth about $650 million, according to a creditor representative.

The Register story indicates that all 15 Younkers stores in the state, including the one at NorthPark Mall in Davenport, will shutter when the store's parent company, Milwaukee-based Bon-Ton Inc. moves through bankruptcy.

A spokesman for Bon-Ton did not immediately respond to messages from The World-Herald on Tuesday morning. Bon-Ton also has Younkers stores in Eau Claire, Marshfield and Green Bay.

The liquidation bids come after a group of investors last week tried to buy the company and keep it operating.

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Younkers was founded in Keokuk, Iowa in 1856 and opened its flagship store in Des Moines in 1874. Local Bon-Ton chains can be found in the Arnot Mall in Horseheads, The Shops at Ithaca Mall in Ithaca and the Oakdale Mall in Johnson City.

Bon-Ton had been working with an investor group that included USA mall owners Namdar Realty Group and Washington Prime Group secure a bid that would have kept Bon-Ton in business as a going concern.

Earlier this month, Bon-Ton sent notices to several states warning of potential job losses from store closures if it was forced to liquidate.

In addition to the major mall anchors, Bon-Ton stores occupy giant boxes at local shopping plazas, including the Southgate Plaza in West Seneca, on Sheridan Drive in the Town of Tonawanda and on Transit Road in Lockport. However, that deal fell through after a federal judge barred Bon-Ton from paying the investor group a $500,000 fee as compensation for due diligence costs. He doubts that a single retailer will take over each of the spaces.

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