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Bon-Ton bankruptcy filing could be coming this month

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A bankruptcy filing could be coming as soon as this month for the struggling retailer Bon-Ton Stores Inc., based on a company statement issued Tuesday.

The company, which has dual headquarters in York County and Milwaukee, said it has entered into so-called forbearance agreements with lenders and debt holders to hold off on taking any action against the company until Jan. 26 because of a missed $14 million interest payment on a loan.

Last month, Bon-Ton used a 30-day grace period to give it more time to make the payment, which was due Dec. 15. This new agreement gives Bon-Ton additional time to satisfy the loan obligation.  

In the statement Tuesday, company officials reiterated that Bon-Ton is in "ongoing discussions" with debt holders in an effort to strengthen its capital structure to support the business. Bon-Ton also said the forbearance agreements could be extended.

Last week, Bloomberg reported that senior creditors were pushing for a bankruptcy filing, though it was not clear whether that would be done to liquidate or reorganize the chain. There has been private-equity interest in buying Bon-Ton's assets.

Bon-Ton, which has not been profitable for much of this decade, has already said it plans to close at least 40 stores by the end of this year, hoping to cut costs as sales continue to slump.

The company has 260 stores in 24 states under the Bon-Ton, Bergner's, Boston Store, Carson's, Elder-Beerman, Herberger's and Younkers banners. They include nine furniture galleries and four clearance centers.

Shares of Bon-Ton stock were trading at 19 cents per share at 11:30 a.m. The stock fell to a low of 17 cents on Tuesday.

More Bon-Ton news

Here is some recent Business Journal coverage on Bon-Ton's ongoing financial struggles and leadership changes:

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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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