By Brecken Branstrator
York, Pennsylvania—Another retailer has joined the growing list of retail chains to shut down.

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. will close all of its locations as it heads to liquidation.

The department store chain filed for bankruptcy earlier this year after struggling under its debt load and the competition coming from both e-commerce and similar chains like J.C. Penney, Kohl’s and Macy’s.  

The company had hoped that two landlords and a private equity group would make a bid and keep it running, but that never materialized.

Instead, the winning bid came from a joint venture comprised of liquidators and creditors. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware, approved the group’s bid last week to buy the retailer out of bankruptcy and close the remaining locations.

Bon-Ton will use the money raised to pay back its creditors.

The Bon-Ton Stores has headquarters in both York, Pennsylvania, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It operates more than 250 stores in 23 states under the Bon-Ton, Bergner's, Boston Store, Carson's, Elder-Beerman, Herberger's and Younkers names.

It has about 23,000 part-and full-time employees, according to its bankruptcy filings.

Liquidation sales for 212 stores are expected to last for 10 to 12 weeks. These sales are separate from those of another 42 under-performing stores that the company had already decided to shutter and had started closing during the winter.

President and CEO Bill Tracy said in a company statement, “While we are disappointed by this outcome and tried very hard to identify bidders interested in operating the business as a going concern, we are committed to working constructively with the winning bidder to ensure an orderly wind-down of operations that minimizes the impact of this development on our associates, customers, vendors and the communities we serve.

“We are incredibly grateful to all of our associates for their dedicated service to Bon-Ton and to our millions of loyal customers who we have had the pleasure to serve as their hometown store for more than 160 years.”

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