YORK, Pa.-Improved gross margin and slimmed-down expenses helped Bon-Ton reduce its second-quarter net loss to $37.3 million, from the $45 million net loss from last year’s second quarter.
Gross margin rose 122 basis points to 38.5 percent, thanks to reduced markdowns and an increase in the cumulative markup percentage. Selling, general and administrative expenses—although they rose 86 basis points as a percentage of sales—dropped 3.7 percent in dollars. Interest expense declined 15.3 percent.
Net sales totaled $557.1 million, down 6.3 percent and including a same-store sales drop of 6.4 percent. Brendan Hoffman, Bon-Ton’s president and CEO, attributed the top-line shortfall to bad weather in the company’s markets and increased gasoline prices, especially in the Northeast and Midwest, both of which brought an unfavorable shift in consumer spending patterns.
Hoffman said, “Looking ahead, we remain focused on the continued execution of our key merchandising, marketing and e-commerce strategies, including the localization of our merchandise assortments and marketing programs to drive top-line growth, while maintaining disciplined inventory management and careful cost controls.”