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Local Business

A comeback for Bergner’s? Reports say a deal is close

Blurbs that began appearing last week on the Bon-Ton Stores' website, along with its subsidiary’s sites – including Bergner's – announced that the company “is coming back” and looked forward to serving customers again. It also urged people to “stay tuned for updates” in the coming weeks.
Blurbs that began appearing last week on the Bon-Ton Stores' website, along with its subsidiary’s sites – including Bergner's – announced that the company “is coming back” and looked forward to serving customers again. It also urged people to “stay tuned for updates” in the coming weeks.

STERLING – It looks like Bon-Ton – a nationwide retailer that counted Bergner’s among its links in a corporate chain that stretched from Montana to Massachusetts – is making a comeback, and that could mean good news for Illinois.

Blurbs that began appearing last week on the company’s website, along with its subsidiary’s sites, announced that the company “is coming back” and looked forward to serving customers again. It also urged people to “stay tuned for updates” in the coming weeks.

The company’s Bergner’s store at Northland Mall closed down Aug. 26, after 4 months of liquidation sales. It joined 212 stores nationwide that shuttered locations as the company stumbled on a shifting, and increasingly rough, retail landscape that saw growing numbers of consumers shun brick-and-mortar stores for online shopping.

A story posted Friday in USA Today reported that a deal to relaunch the retailer and its subsidiaries was close at hand, and that the company plans to reopen physical locations in Illinois, Colorado, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, though it did not specify how many stores or which locations would reopen. The company had 37 locations in Illinois.

The article said the revamped retailer would be more e-commerce focused, but also would offer services such as personal styling. Stores would be open shorter hours most weekdays, and for extended hours from Thursday to Sunday. It also said former Bon-Ton employees would get first dibs on jobs at the new locations.

Scott Carpenter, president of retail solutions at Great American Group, which led the liquidation of Bon-Ton’s assets, issued a statement to the Journal Sentinel in Milwaukee on Friday that said in part, “[Bon-Ton Stores’] intellectual property is in the process of being sold,” but that he could not speak to the purchaser’s plans for the company.

Nationwide, the company’s closings put about 24,000 people out of work in 23 states. The New York-based company failed to show a profit since 2010 and filed for bankruptcy in February. A group of creditors and liquidators bought it 2 months later and began holding liquidation sales.

In addition to Bergner’s, Bon-Ton Stores had operated Carson’s, Yonker’s, Boston Store, Herberger’s and Elder-Beerman.

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