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As it seeks buyer, Bon-Ton makes contingency plans for liquidationPossible layoffs loom at Park City and York corporate office

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The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. on Friday said it was giving notice of potential layoffs that would affect workers in Lancaster and York counties if the bankrupt retailer is unable to find a buyer and has to shut down.

But the company is hoping to avoid that outcome.

In a statement Friday, Bon-Ton said it is working to complete a sale under a process supervised by bankruptcy court and that it is in active discussions with a potential buyer. The process is scheduled to be completed by April 13.

"We are encouraged by the interest in Bon-Ton and we hope that jobs will be preserved through a sale process," the statement said. "We remain committed to pursuing the best path forward for the Company and its stakeholders, including Bon-Ton associates."

The layoff notices were filed under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (or WARN) and were required under state and federal law, Bon-Ton said.

They cover 184 workers at the Bon-Ton store at Park City Center in Lancaster County and 332 workers at the company's headquarters in Springettsbury Township. Notices also were issued for 140 workers at two stores in the Lehigh Valley.

Other stores in the region were not included. 

If the company shuts down, stores close and layoffs are necessary, they would begin June 5, according to a WARN notice filed by the company with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

Bon-Ton filed for bankruptcy in early February. It is in the process of closing 42 stores and finding a buyer for its remaining assets.

Bids from potential buyers were due April 4. An auction, originally set for April 9, is now scheduled for April 10. A hearing is expected to follow on April 13 to approve a sale.

The company, which has dual headquarters in York County and Milwaukee, operates 251 stores in 23 states under the Bon-Ton, Bergner's, Boston Store, Carson's, Elder-Beerman, Herberger's and Younkers banners. 

(Editors' note: This story has been modified from its original version to include updated information on the auction schedule)

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