Bon-Ton comparable store sales decreased 1.9% for the five weeks ended January 3, 2004. Total sales for December increased 87.1% to $253.2 million, including $120.3 million from the acquired Elder-Beerman stores, compared to $135.3 million for the same period last year.
Year-to-date total sales increased 27.6% to $869.0 million, including $203.2 million from the Elder-Beerman stores acquired on October 24, 2003, compared to $681.2 million for the same period last year. Year-to-date Bon-Ton comparable store sales decreased 1.8%.
Elder-Beerman sales are not included in the Company's reported comparable store sales. For informational purposes only, Elder-Beerman comparable store sales for the five weeks ended January 3, 2004 increased 2.1% and for the eleven months ended January 3, 2004 decreased 2.5%.
James H. Baireuther, Vice Chairman and Chief Administrative Officer, commented, “Bon-Ton December comparable store sales performance did not meet our expectations. Results were negatively impacted by winter storms in the northeast the first two weekends of the month. Although we were pleased with a strong finish in the last two weeks, we could not overcome the magnitude of the shortfall due to the severe weather. Intimate, children's, misses sportswear and accessories posted increases for the period.”