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Losses continue to mount for Bon-Ton

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The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. continued its financial struggle in the first quarter as same-store sales dipped nearly 9 percent over the year.

However, the department-store chain is still paying its outgoing CEO a six-figure "transition services" bonus, the company disclosed in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Total company sales for the period that ended April 29 were down 9.3 percent to $536.1 million compared with $591 million last year.

The department-store chain, which has corporate offices in Milwaukee and York County, reported a net loss of $57.3 million, or $2.86 per share, compared with a net loss of $37.8 million, or $1.91 per share, in the first quarter of 2016.

CEO Kathryn Bufano, who announced she is leaving the company in August, cited weak mall traffic trends, unfavorable weather conditions and marketing challenges associated with the Easter calendar shift.

Based on recent activity, the chain is expecting a fiscal 2017 loss per share of $2.08 to $2.59, with comparable store sales to decrease 3 to 4 percent.

Pay for departing execs

In addition to Bufano's transition pay, Bon-Ton is paying retiring board chairman Tim Grumbacher a six-figure sum to transition into a new role.

Bufano, who is serving out her three-year contract, will receive a $500,000 bonus and a $100,000 relocation payment for expenses she will incur in relocating from Milwaukee, the SEC filing states.

Grumbacher will move into the non-officer positions of chairman emeritus and adviser to the CEO, jobs that will pay him $450,000 per year.

His wife, Debra Simon, is taking over as board chairman and William Tracy, the company's current COO, will be named president and CEO upon Bufano's departure in August.

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Jason Scott

Jason Scott

Jason Scott covers state government, real estate and construction, media and marketing, and Dauphin County. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jscott@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JScottJournal. Circle Jason Scott on .

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B Abbott May 19, 2017 12:00 am

Hard to feel bad about a company that bleeds money for their departing executives.

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