The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter and Fiscal 2016 Results

The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ:BONT) today reported operating results for its fiscal fourth quarter and full year ended January 28, 2017 and initiated guidance for fiscal 2017.

Results for the Fourth Quarter Ended January 28, 2017
•Comparable store sales decreased 4.7% as compared with the prior year period.
•Net income was $44.7 million, or $2.09 per diluted share.  Fourth quarter of fiscal 2016 net income includes non-cash asset impairment charges of $16.7 million, or $0.78 per diluted share.

Net income in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015 was $50.6 million, or $2.42 per diluted share.  Fourth quarter of fiscal 2015 diluted earnings per share results include severance costs of $0.19 per diluted share, costs associated with debt extinguishment of $0.06 per diluted share, non-cash asset impairment charges of $0.15 per diluted share and a benefit related to an insurance settlement of $0.03 per diluted share.
•Adjusted EBITDA totaled $101.6 million compared to Adjusted EBITDA of $94.0 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015. (As used in this release, Adjusted EBITDA is not a measure recognized under GAAP – see the accompanying financial table which reconciles this non-GAAP measure to net loss.) Adjusted EBITDA for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015 included $3.9 million of severance costs associated with the Company’s cost savings initiatives and a $0.6 million gain associated with an insurance settlement. Excluding the financial impact of the severance costs and insurance settlement, Adjusted EBITDA was $97.3 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015.

Results for the Fiscal Year Ended January 28, 2017
•Comparable store sales decreased 3.8% in fiscal 2016 as compared with the prior year.
•Net loss in fiscal 2016 was $63.4 million, or $3.18 per diluted share.  Fiscal 2016 results include a $0.32 per diluted share in consulting expenses and severance costs related to the Company’s cost savings initiatives, and $0.85 per diluted share in non-cash asset impairment charges.

Net loss in fiscal 2015 was $57.1 million, or $2.90 per diluted share.  Fiscal 2015 results include $0.32 per diluted share in costs related to debt extinguishment, $0.20 per diluted share in severance costs, $0.18 per diluted share in non-cash asset impairment charges, and a $0.07 per diluted share gain associated with the insurance settlements.
•Adjusted EBITDA totaled $116.0 million in fiscal 2016 inclusive of $6.5 million of consulting expenses and severance costs related to the Company’s cost savings initiatives. This compares with fiscal 2016 Adjusted EBITDA guidance of $114 million to $124 million.  Excluding the aforementioned consulting expenses and severance costs, Adjusted EBITDA was $122.5 million.

Adjusted EBITDA was $109.5 million in fiscal 2015, including $3.9 million in severance costs and a $1.4 million gain from the asset recovery portion of the insurance settlement.  Adjusted EBITDA, excluding the aforementioned severance costs and gain on insurance settlement, was $112.1 million in fiscal 2015.

Kathryn Bufano, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, “While the continued weak traffic trends and unseasonably warm weather pressured sales in the fourth quarter, we expanded gross margin  by 145 basis points and grew Adjusted EBITDA by 8%. In addition, we exceeded our cost reduction goal by $7 million, with net savings of $31 million for the year. We also made progress on a number of initiatives designed to differentiate our stores within the retail landscape. As part of this, we believe we further solidified our position as the hometown shopping destination with an emphasis on our localization strategy which included the introduction of our Close to Home product assortment. In addition, we continued to focus on our omnichannel strategy, with sales once again growing in the double digits. Finally, we grew our base of loyal private label credit card users, and launched our new Love Style Rewards loyalty program to great response.”

Ms. Bufano continued, “We believe that we are well-positioned for fiscal 2017 as we continue to build on these strategic priorities and drive the business forward.  As we look ahead, we will remain focused on capitalizing on our omnichannel business, refining our marketing strategies, and further evolving our merchandise assortment, with even greater emphasis on growth categories and localization.  Finally, we will remain disciplined in our inventory management and will once again focus on further reducing our costs throughout the year.  Looking ahead, we will strive to make progress on our strategic initiatives and believe we are positioned to deliver improved performance going forward.”
more detail at:  http://investors.bonton.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=1017250