Friday, November 23, 2018

The Bon-Ton Stores bankruptcy and liquidation, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse for Black Friday/Buy Nothing Day

Once again, Happy Black Friday/Buy Nothing Day!  I'm continuing my coverage of the Retail Apocalypse on this major shopping day by following up part of my closing to Macy's surviving the Retail Apocalypse on Black Friday/Buy Nothing Day, where I wrote "I think I might cover the end of Bon Ton next."  This turned out to be a bigger story than I thought, as the Bon-Ton stores encompassed 262 locations in 25 states, as Company Man explains in The Decline of Bon-Ton...What Happened?

Bon-Ton is shutting down. It's a bigger story than many may realize because they're also the owner of 6 other department store chains. This video talks about how all these stores came together, where they stand now, and theorizes what caused their demise.
Out of the seven chains, I'd heard of two of them, The Bon-Ton and Carson's AKA Carson Pirie Scott.  My wife is from Illinois and she wondered where the nearest Carson's was.  There had been one at Laurel Park Place in Livonia, Closure of Northland Mall approved" TARGET="">where I used to mall walk
, a half hour away, but we never found it in time for her to go shopping there.  However, all is not lost, as USA Today reported in September: After closing its stores, Bon-Ton is ready for its comeback as new company buys its brand.
Bon-Ton, the bankrupt retailer that shut its stores last week after being in business for over 100 years, is poised to reopen now that a new owner has scooped up its brand.

A subsidiary of the tech company CSC Generation Holdings told USA TODAY that it has signed a deal giving it the rights to Bon-Ton and its subsidiary department store chains, Boston Store, Bergner's, Carson’s, Elder Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers. The agreement will need to get the green light from the Delaware Bankruptcy Court to become final.  

The new Bon-Ton will emphasize its online shopping experience. But CSC says it is "also in advanced discussions with landlords about reopening stores in Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.'' Those locations would likely be staffed by former Bon-Ton employees.

By focusing on e-commerce, and making plans to reinvent its physical stores with personal styling services and extended hours on the days when more people might be inclined to shop, Bon-Ton is attempting to be more competitive in a retail environment transformed by Amazon and fast-fashion chains like Zara.
Here's to hoping that the new ownership is able to succeed in a post-Retail Apocalypse environment, including hiring former Bon-Ton employees the way Macy's claims it did.  If true, at least the creative destruction of the company didn't result in their prolonged unemployment.

That's it for the Retail Apocalypse/Black Friday/Buy Nothing Day.  Stay tuned for Small Business Saturday.

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