E-commerce business bolsters Bon-Ton Q1

YORK, Pa. — Inclement weather was not enough to hold back Bon-Ton’s first quarter results for the period ended May 4. 

The company saw same-store sales increase 1.2% compared with the first quarter of the year prior. Total sales for the quarter were $647 million, a 1% increase from $641 million for the first quarter last year.

“Our first quarter financial results reflect meaningful progress on our strategic initiatives,” said president and CEO Brendan Hoffman. “Comparable store sales increased in spite of inclement weather. Enhancements to our e-commerce business again yielded double-digit sales growth while we saw increased penetration of proprietary credit card sales due to concentrated efforts to drive this business. Our gross margin rate benefited from a better balanced merchandise mix and a more effective markdown strategy.”

The company’s gross margin for the quarter was $225 million, an increase of 2.6% from $220 million in the first quarter of the year prior. The gross margin rate for the first quarter of fiscal 2013 increased to 34.8% of net sales from 34.3% of net sales in the prior year period. The company attributes the increase in its gross margin rate for the current period to a reduced net markdown percentage and an increase in the cumulative markup percentage.

The Bon-Ton Stores operates 272 department stores, which includes 11 furniture galleries, in 24 states in the Northeast, Midwest and upper Great Plains under the Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers nameplates.