York, PA, October 29, 2002--The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. today announced it will close its Red Bank, New Jersey store after the holiday season. The Red Bank store will continue to offer a full merchandise assortment and honor the company's hassle free return and exchange policy until it closes. Thereafter, Red Bank customers can return merchandise to any other Bon-Ton location.
The Bon-Ton acquired the leasehold interest in the 33,300 square feet Red Bank location in March 1999 and the store opened under the Bon-Ton name on September 1, 1999. The lease term expires January 31, 2003. The closing will be reported to the appropriate state and local officials in accordance with the WARN Act and will impact 80 associates.
The Bon-Ton had been in negotiations with the landlord to reach mutually agreeable terms regarding a lease renewal. James H. Baireuther, vice chairman and chief administrative officer, stated, "The decision to close a store is always a difficult one. The proposed lease would have substantially escalated occupancy costs resulting in an unprofitable store and, therefore, we decided to vacate the property."
Mr. Baireuther emphasized, "We sincerely appreciate the loyalty and dedication of our associates and the support of our customers in the Red Bank, New Jersey area. We remain committed to the New Jersey markets and are actively pursuing alternative locations in New Jersey."
The company elected to make the announcement three months in advance of the actual closing to allow impacted associates time to evaluate all career options. Affected associates will be offered the opportunity to interview for available positions at our Brick Township store as well as other Bon-Ton locations. Associates will receive career transition benefits including severance, career counseling and state employment service support.
The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. operates 73 department stores in targeted markets in Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and West Virginia. The stores carry a broad assortment of quality, brand-name fashion apparel and accessories for women, men and children, as well as distinctive home furnishings.
Statements made in this press release, other than statements of historical information, are forward looking statements and are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in these statements. Factors that could cause such differences include, but are not limited to, risks related to retail businesses generally, additional competition from existing and new competitors, uncertainties associated with opening new stores or expanding or remodeling existing stores, the Company's presence in and dependence on limited geographic markets, the ability to attract and retain qualified management, the dependence upon key vendor relationships and the ability to obtain financing for working capital, capital expenditures and general corporate purposes. Additional factors that could cause the Company's actual results to differ from those contained in these forward looking statements are discussed in greater detail in the Company's periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.