Karen Neuburger Lifts Home at Bon-Ton
By Cecile B. Corral -- Home Textiles Today, 9/3/2007 12:00:00 AM
York, Pa. —
After a soft one-year stretch, The Bon-Ton Stores is "thrilled" to see its home business "performing better than spring and on plan," thanks to successes in the fall assortment, especially its proprietary Karen Neuburger collection.
"Karen Neuberger bedding and towels are exceeding plan and we actually had to reposition ourselves for the fourth quarter," said Anthony Buccina, vice chairman, president-merchandising, adding, "We've extended it into more textile categories in home — towels, gifts, and candles."
Also "thrilling," Buccina said, is the "dorm shop" in home, which rolled out in June. "Our back-to-school business is strong, companywide," he said.
Byron Bergren, president and ceo, said, "The home business had been difficult throughout the past year and we've actually seen that stabilize both on the Carson and the Bon-Ton sides"
Bon-Ton is refining merchandise by market; targeting promotions to key shopper groups; and augmenting its website, which will see an October kickoff of an enhanced holiday assortment.
Bon-Ton reported a second-quarter net loss of $15.0 million, compared to a net loss of $19.8 million one year ago. Sales fell 5.1% to $708.6 million, from $746.8 million last year. Bon-Ton and Carson's combined comps fell 5.0%.
The 278-unit department store retailer considers 2007 to be a "transitional year" as it integrates the two divisions.
"I'm thrilled that Bon-Ton is beginning to penetrate to the level of Carson sales as we planned it," Buccina said. "We're not up against any more big liquidations. We have a common promotional calendar and better understanding of assortment and inventory levels on a store-by-store basis — what works, what will work, and what doesn't."
"We expect long-term benefits," said Buccina of the Carson's and related acquisitions that have grown the company to 2006 sales of $3.36 billion. "Size does matter in retail."
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