The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. reported combined comparable store sales for fiscal January decreased 1.3% compared to the prior year period. Carsons comparable store sales decreased 3.2% and Bon-Ton comparable store sales increased 2.4% compared to the prior year period. Total sales for the four weeks decreased 22% to $187.6 million compared to $240.6 million for the prior year period, which consisted of five weeks.
For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007, Bon-Ton and Carsons combined comparable store sales decreased 3.6% compared to the prior year period. Total sales for the thirteen weeks decreased 8.9% to $1,138.9 million compared to $1,249.6 million for the prior year period, which consisted of fourteen weeks.
Fiscal 2007 Bon-Ton comparable store sales decreased 6.5%. For informational purposes only, fiscal 2007 Carsons comparable store sales decreased 1.6%. Fiscal 2007 total sales increased 0.1% to $3,365.9 million compared to $3,362.3 million for the prior year period.
Tony Buccina, vice chairman and president merchandising, commented, “January sales were slightly below expectations, but we are pleased with the early results of our semi-annual home sale that began in the third week of January. This is the first big event of the new season and we had double-digit increases as the customer responded favorably to our new spring assortment in both soft and hard home. Other businesses that performed well included shoes, petites and childrens. The weakest performing businesses were missy outerwear, dresses, juniors and furniture. As we enter the new fiscal year, we are comfortable with our inventory levels, which are down 4% on a comparable store basis. We are well-positioned to execute our merchandise strategies to drive our business.”
Keith Plowman, EVP and CFO stated, “Our excess borrowing capacity under our credit facility at the end of fiscal 2007 was approximately $351 million compared to $341 million last year, an increase of $10 million. Additionally, our total debt at the end of fiscal 2007 is below last year, reflecting the cash flow generated in fiscal 2007 which was utilized to reduce our debt.”