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YORK, PA-Bon-Ton Stores Inc. plans to expand five existing stores, close three, and relocate two other ones. These moves will take place between Oct. 12 and fall 2006.

The cost of expansions, remodelings and relocations is undisclosed, a spokeswoman for Bon-Ton tells GlobeSt.com. However, in a Sept. 9 SEC filing, the locally based department store chain states that capital expenditures for 2005 are expected to be in the range of $28 million to $32 million, and the company “anticipates increasing store selling space by expanding store locations.” Planned 2006 capital expenditures are not forecast in the filing.

Three of the expansions, which include remodeling, plan grand re-openings next month. The unit in Cumberland, MD is expanding from 61,000 sf to 75,100 sf; the New Philadelphia, OH location expands from 53,000 sf to 73,000 sf, and the Warsaw, IN store grows from its initial 56,000 sf to 80,000 sf. The increased space in these locations provides larger cosmetics, misses, men’s and intimate apparel departments.

Stores in Hanover, PA and Kanawha, WV are being relocated. In fall 2006, the Hanover store will move to a strip center alongside Home Depot. The Kanawha unit is moving from a 40,000-sf space to an 80,000-sf space in the same mall in which it is located.

Expansion and remodeling of stores in Westfield, MA and Doylestown, PA are expected to reach completion in early spring 2006. The Westfield store will expand from 51,000 sf to 75,000 sf primarily to accommodate a men’s and home store, while other departments expand in the existing space. The Doylestown unit will reach from its existing 56,000 sf to 62,000 sf, with the added space devoted to men’s, home and children’s departments.

On Jan. 28, 2006, Bon-Ton will close its Great Northern and Shoppingtown stores in Syracuse, NY and its unit in Lebanon, PA. The company acquired leasehold interests in those locations in 1994, opened units there the following year and will not renew.

Bon-Ton currently operates 139 department stores and two furniture stores in 16 states under the Bon-Ton and Elder-Beerman names. For second-quarter 2004, the company recorded a net loss of $1.4 million, and for first-half, the net loss was $5.9 million. Total sales in second quarter dropped 3.5% to $274.3 million, and first-half sales were down 2.3% to $536.9 million. Comp store sales for first-half declined 1.8%. During a second-quarter conference call, James H. Baireuther, vice chairman and chief administration officer, said sales in the home area were among the weakest, which “greatly affected our business as home sales represented 19% of total sales last year.”

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