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Department store, Bon-Ton Stores Inc. (BONT) posted a slight upside in same-store sales and total sales results for the month of September.
Bon-Ton’s comparable store sales inched up 0.6% for the five-weeks ended September 29, 2012 versus a decline of negative 3.6% in same-store sales for the five-week month ended October 1, 2011. The comps benefited from the continuous efforts to improve the merchandise collection and the enhancement of marketing program.
Bon-Ton’s sales climbed up 0.7% in the month of September, 2012 to $288.9 million, whereas sales in the year-ago month had declined 4.1% to $286.9 million.
September comps were primarily driven by improved performance of categories like fine jewelry, better sportswear, dresses, shoes, men’s sportswear and ladies’ large sizes. The company’s multi-channel methods of interacting and being in touch with clients help drive traffic.
Additionally, Bon-Ton continues to record double-digit sales growth in eCommerce and considers it to be a significant growth driver. Moreover, for the upcoming holiday season, the company’s inventory is in place to drive sales further.
Bon-Ton’s year-to-date total revenue slipped 0.2% year over year to $1,705.3 million and same-store sales were down 0.1%.
On the other hand, Bon-Ton’s competitor Kohl’s Corporation (KSS) reported negative 2.7% comparable store sales for the five-weeks ended September 29, 2012 versus a positive 4.1% same-store sales growth in the five-week month ended October 1, 2011. Total sales dipped 1.4% for the month of September, 2012 to $1.61 billion.
Bon-Ton remains upbeat with its September comps results and expects the same trend to continue in 2012. The company expects comps growth in the range of flat to 1.25% for 2012.
Bon-Ton, which operates 272 department stores, holds a Zacks #4 Rank (short-term Sell rating). Currently, we maintain a long-term ‘Neutral’ recommendation on the stock.