Bon-Ton president to step down in 2015; earnings report down
Bon-Ton's president and CEO plans to leave the department store chain in February after two years on the job.
Brendan L. Hoffman told the store's board of directors that he would not renew his employment agreement with the company when it expires Feb. 7, 2015. He also will resign as director of the company on that date.
"I truly enjoyed working for the Company these past two years," Hoffman said in a news release. "However, I have made the difficult decision to end my tenure with the company for strictly personal reasons. I remain committed to continuing to execute the strategic initiatives we put forward as the company searches for a new chief executive officer."
The board of directors will search nationally for a replacement.
"The advance notice Brendan has given should afford the company an opportunity to find and attract a talented leader to assume the role he is vacating and ensure a smooth transition," said Tim Grumbacher, Bon-Ton's board chairman.
Also Tuesday, the company had disappointing news in its operating results for the fourth quarter and fiscal 2013.
Gross margin rate increased to 36.3 percent, compared with 36.2 percent in the fourth quarter, which ended Feb. 1, according to a news release. Operating income was $76.1 million, compared with operating income of $95.3 million in the year-ago quarter. Net income was $61.3 million, or $3.04 per diluted share, compared with net income of $74.4 million, or $3.71 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012.
Hoffman blamed some of the poor performance on bad weather in December and January.
For the fiscal year, the gross margin rate increased to 36.2 percent, compared with 35.8 percent in the prior year. Operating income was $69.4 million, compared with $70 million in the prior year. Net loss was $3.6 million, or $0.19 per diluted share, compared with a net loss of $21.6 million, or $1.16 per diluted share, for the prior year.
The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., with corporate headquarters in York County and Milwaukee, operates 270 department stores, including 10 furniture galleries, in 25 states in the Northeast, Midwest and upper Great Plains under the Bon-Ton, Bergner's, Boston Store, Carson's, Elder-Beerman, Herberger's and Younkers nameplates.