After being named one of the most likely retailers to go bankrupt in 2017, Bon-Ton stores are getting another vote of no-confidence from an important credit rating agency.
Morningstar is out with a new list of three dozen locations it expects the struggling retailer to close.
Read more: 20 retailers on bankruptcy watch for 2017
Report: 36 Bon-Ton locations may close
Bon-Ton may not have the national presence of a Sears, JC Penney or Macy’s. But to many shoppers in the Midwest, Northeast and upper Great Plains, this regional department store is very familiar.
In addition to its flagship brand, Bon-Ton also operates stores under six other names: Boston Store, Younkers, Bergner’s, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, and Herberger’s.
But right now Bon-Ton may have to say bon voyage to 36 struggling locations that are suffering from declining traffic, a consumer shift away from apparel and increased competition from online players.
Since the start of 2017, Bon-Ton has announced the closing of four stores:
- The Ohio Valley Mall location (Elder-Beerman store) in St. Clairsville, Ohio, closed in March
- The Schuylkill Mall location (Bon-Ton) in Frackville, Pennsylvania, closed in May
- The Bon-Ton store at the Maine Mall in South Portland will close by the end of August
- Finally, the Bon-Ton in Hagerstown, Maryland, is slated to close February 2018
Yet even more store closures may be on the way, according to Morningstar.
The two biggest threats are two Younkers stores — one at Southern Hills Mall (Sioux City, Iowa) and the other in Midland, Michigan. Meanwhile, the Midland regional mall has already been hit hard by the July 2016 closure of Sears and the July 2017 closure of JC Penney, according to Morningstar.
Here’s the full list of stores that Morningstar believes are at risk of shutting down:
This is exactly why money expert Clark Howard says you should avoid buying retail or restaurant gift cards.
If you choose to buy a gift card, you need to so with the full faith that the store is going to be there when you visit it! But in today’s challenging retail environment, that’s far from a guarantee.
Clark’s alternative? Give cash instead! There’s no expiration date, it never goes out of style and any store will accept it!