The Bon-Ton Stores, which operates 260 department stores in the U.S. including Carson’s, is expected to go out of business after two liquidation firms became the highest bidders at an auction for the bankrupt company’s assets Tuesday.
A bankruptcy court hearing was scheduled Wednesday to approve the sale and liquidation details, but a statement from the company’s CEO suggested the end for The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. is certain.
“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,” said President and CEO Bill Tracy.
Carson’s has 15 Indiana stores, including those in Fort Wayne, Warsaw, Marion, Muncie and Kokomo, and 20 Ohio stores including a Defiance location.
The 160-year-old company has survived economic recessions and depressions, but like several other brick-and-mortar retailers in recent years it couldn’t survive the shift toward e-commerce, led by Amazon.com Inc.
Liquidation firms Great American Group and Tiger Capital Group were the highest bidders for the company’s assets and no one else was willing to outbid them to continue store operations.
The Bon-Ton Stores was operating 260 stores in 24 states, largely in the Northeast and Midwest, when it filed for bankruptcy in January. The stores operate under different names, including Younkers, Boston Store and Carson’s.