Mall's Boston Store to close; 12 more in Wisconsin face same fate

Younkers Department Store exterior

Younkers Department Store exterior

The Younkers store at Oakwood Mall is among a dozen locations and a corporate office in Wisconsin that will close this year as company Bon-Ton Stores goes through bankruptcy. Bon-Ton is in active discussions with an investor group to acquire the Company in a court-supervised sale process. In late January, Bon-Ton announced the closure of 42 locations.

Bids were due from interested parties this past Wednesday but it was not clear Friday if any bids were received.

Bon-Ton, parent company of Boston Store, has been ailing and notified the state of the mass closure Friday. "We remain committed to pursuing the best path forward for the Company and its stakeholders, including Bon-Ton associates".

Retail expert Jeff Green, owner of Jeff Green Partners in Phoenix, said he believes the WARN notices are not a good sign for the future of Bon-Ton's brick-and-mortar portfolio.

Bon-Ton said in a court filing this week that there will be an auction Monday, with a court hearing scheduled April 13 to approve any potential sale.

"If you ask the question - what does Bon-Ton stand for?"

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.

Bon-Ton, which has 22,745 employees, recently announced plans to close 47 stores this year, including nine stores in Wisconsin.

But Bon-Ton, based in Milwaukee and York, Pennsylvania, left open the possibility that the company could be purchased out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. That includes $1.3 million for replacing and repairing the department store roof, $400,000 for repaving the parking lot and additional repairs, including the roof drainage system, totaling $300,000. More than 2,200 employees state-wide will be affected.

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