The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. announced comparable store sales for the four weeks ended August 30, 2008 decreased 10.3% compared with the prior year period. Total sales for the four weeks decreased 9.3% to $207.1 million compared with $228.3 million for the prior year period.
Year-to-date comparable store sales decreased 5.9%. Year-to-date total sales decreased 5.6% to $1,580.7 million compared with $1,674.5 million for the same period last year.
Tony Buccina, vice chairman and president of merchandising, commented, “August results were negatively impacted by the continued weakness in customer traffic as well as a reduced level of clearance merchandise in our assortment. With continued macroeconomic pressures affecting those regions in which we operate, we believe that our customer is buying closer to need. Business did improve in the final week of the month, but we will look to September to get a better read on fall trends. Best performing categories for August were childrens, cosmetics and accessories. Our weakest performing categories were furniture, ladies and mens apparel. We are pleased with the initial sales and quality of our new lines-Victor Alfaro, Evan-Picone and Relativity Career. We have managed our inventories such that on a comparable store basis, inventories were down in excess of 8% compared with the prior year. Our lean inventory position bodes well for fresh product flows as we head into September.”
Keith Plowman, EVP and CFO, stated, “We ended August with excess borrowing capacity under our revolving credit facility of approximately $239 million. We expect our excess borrowing capacity will continue to increase through the fall season.”