The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. reported comparable store sales increased 5.3% for the four weeks ended Jan. 30, 2010. Total sales for the four weeks increased 4.7% to $180.1 million compared with $172.0 million for the prior year period.

For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009, comparable store sales decreased 2.4%. Total sales for the thirteen weeks decreased 2.8% to $1,002.1 million compared with $1,031.4 million for the prior year period.
Fiscal 2009 comparable store sales decreased 5.4%. Fiscal 2009 total sales decreased 5.4% to $2,959.8 million compared with $3,130.0 million for the prior year period.

Tony Buccina, Vice Chairman and President, Merchandising, commented, “January sales finished strong with our semi-annual home sale generating solid comparable sales gains in soft home, hard home and furniture. Our best performing businesses outside of the home categories were moderate missy, petites and large-size sportswear, accessories, intimate apparel, children’s and juniors. Our weakest performing businesses were men’s and cosmetics. Throughout the fourth quarter our merchants successfully executed our merchandise strategy, resulting in reduced comparable store and clearance inventories and improved margins reflecting increased sales of regular-priced merchandise. Customers are indicating their approval of our new spring merchandise assortments, particularly as evidenced by early sell-through of our private brand offerings. We are encouraged by the solid finish to the fiscal year.”

Keith Plowman, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, stated, “We ended January with excess borrowing capacity under our revolving credit facility of approximately $358 million, well above the required minimum availability of $75 million. The increase in excess borrowing capacity over the prior year reflects improved operating performance, expense control, prudent capital expenditures, managed inventories and the new credit facilities entered into in 2009.”

Plowman continued, “Based on the preliminary results in the fourth quarter, we expect our earnings for fiscal 2009 will be at or near the high end of our guidance range provided in our November 19, 2009 press release (exclusive of the potential impact of The Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009).”

The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc., with corporate offices in York, Pennsylvania and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, operates 278 stores, including 11 furniture galleries, in 23 states in the Northeast, Midwest and upper Great Plains under the Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson Pirie Scott, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers nameplates and, in the Detroit, Michigan area, under the Parisian nameplate.