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Bon-Ton closing Schuylkill County store on May 1

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., which has corporate offices in York County, said it will close its Bon-Ton store at the Schuylkill Mall in Schuylkill County on May 1.

The department-store chain has entered into an agreement to sell the store. Closing it will impact about 35 employees, but they will be offered opportunities to interview for available positions in the area or receive severance packages, the company said.

“Closing a store is never an easy decision,” said Kathryn Bufano, president and CEO.

The Bon-Ton has other locations in that region, including stores in Bloomsburg, Reading and Wilkes-Barre. The chain operates 262 stores in 25 states, including nine furniture galleries and four clearance centers, under the Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers nameplates.

The company recently has been struggling financially. Bon-Ton reported its fourth quarter and fiscal year earnings in March, which showed declining store traffic and a drop in sales. Comparable store sales fell 4.7 percent in the fourth quarter and 3.8 percent for the fiscal year that ended Jan. 28.

For the full fiscal year, Bon-Ton saw its net loss widen to $63.4 million, up from a net loss of $57.1 million in the previous year.

Company shares are traded on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the ticker symbol BONT. The stock is trading near 52-week lows. Shares were priced at 69 cents as of 9 a.m. today.

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