The Bon-Ton Stores Announced Comparable Store Sales For December


The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc.  fell in the morning hour after the company announced comparable store sales for the five weeks ended December 31, 2011.

Comparable store sales decreased 0.7% for the five weeks ended December 31, 2011.  Total sales fell 1.1% to $505.2 million for the five weeks, as compared with $510.8 million for the prior year period. Year-to-date comparable store sales through December 31, 2011 decreased 2.8%. Year-to-date total sales through December 31, 2011 decreased 3.2% to $2,710.3 million as compared with $2,800.4 million for the prior year period.

December sales and margin were negatively impacted by unseasonably mild weather in all the company’s markets throughout the month. Cold-weather categories, which are highly profitable and represent approximately 25% of the business in December, were down mid-teens on a percentage basis. The best performing businesses included hard home, cosmetics, fine jewelry, children’s and better apparel. The poorest performing businesses were cold-weather merchandise, as previously mentioned, along with intimate, moderate traditional men’s and ladies’ apparel and moderate traditional handbags and shoes.

The company revised full-year fiscal 2011 guidance to reflect EBITDA in a range of $170 million to $175 million, loss per share in a range of $1.30 to $1.00 and cash flow in a range of $5 million to $10 million.

As a result, shares of the company declined 6% to $2.98 in the morning hours.

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