Bon-Ton will go out of business, close stores within 10-12 weeks

MILWAUKEE -- FOX6 News has learned the long-struggling Bon-Ton Stores Inc. is going out of business.

Bon-Ton officials on Tuesday, April 17 announced a winning bid in its bankruptcy court-supervised auction. The Great American Group LLC and Tiger Capitol Group LLC will acquire the inventory and other assets of the company -- and sell it off.

On Wednesday, a hearing will take place with the bankruptcy court to approve the sale.  It's expected we'll learn more about closing sales soon.

Bon-Ton has a corporate office in downtown Milwaukee and several stores in our area. There are more than 22,000 employees and 250 stores nationwide.

According to national retail reporter Mitch Nolen, stores will close within 10 to 12 weeks.

Below is a statement from Bon-Ton:

The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. (OTCQX: BONT) ("the Company") today announced the winning bid in an auction for the Company's assets held pursuant to Section 363 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

Subject to Bankruptcy Court approval, a joint venture composed of the holders of the Company's 8.0% Second Lien Secured Notes due 2021 and Great American Group, LLC and Tiger Capital Group, LLC will acquire the inventory and certain other assets of the Company. A hearing by the Bankruptcy Court to approve the sale and wind-down of the Company's operations is scheduled for April 18, 2018.

Bill Tracy, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, "While we are disappointed by this outcome and tried very hard to identify bidders interested in operating the business as a going concern, we are committed to working constructively with the winning bidder to ensure an orderly wind-down of operations that minimizes the impact of this development on our associates, customers, vendors and the communities we serve. We are incredibly grateful to all of our associates for their dedicated service to Bon-Ton and to our millions of loyal customers who we have had the pleasure to serve as their hometown store for more than 160 years."

Throughout the court-supervised asset sale process, the Company's stores, e-commerce and mobile platforms under the Bon-Ton, Bergner's, Boston Store, Carson's, Elder-Beerman, Herberger's and Younkers nameplates will remain open throughout the store closing sales. Bon-Ton expects to provide more details about the liquidation plans and going out of business sales at its stores following approval of the winning bid by the Bankruptcy Court.

As previously announced, on February 4, 2018, Bon-Ton and its subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions for a court-supervised financial restructuring under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

Bon-Ton is the parent company of Boston Store, Younkers and Elder-Beerman.

In February 2017, the Common Council gave the company $2 million to keep the 750 jobs in its offices on Wisconsin Ave.

"We are concerned both from a corporate perspective and from a retail perspective because of the employment opportunities they're afforded here. It's our hope that whatever happens we'll be able to maintain those jobs," said Mayor Tom Barrett on Tuesday.

On Friday, April 6, the company notified state officials 12 stores in Wisconsin could close, along with the corporate office in downtown Milwaukee. The move would impact more than 2,200 Bon-Ton employees. If a buyer is found for the company, some or all of the locations could remain open.

Affected locations in the Milwaukee area include:

    Also impacted are: