Bon-Ton Bankruptcy Auction Begins

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Bon-Ton and Toys "R" Us operated a combined almost 60 million square feet (5.6 million square meters) of store space, according to their latest annual reports, and employed a combined 83,000 when they entered bankruptcy.

The news service noted that once the company selects a winning bidder and the federal court overseeing Bon-Ton's bankruptcy proceedings approves it, "the liquidator can begin selling the inventory, store leases, fixtures and intellectual property".

The auction is set to resume Tuesday morning in New York, Reorg Research said. Liquidators are companies that sell off all of retailers assets and then close the stores.

One liquidator group estimated their initial bid was worth about $650 million, according to a creditor representative.

Bon-Ton has not yet responded to the reports. It has been looking for a buyer, but also making contingency lay-off plans in case it is forced to shut down.

York, Pa. and Milwaukee, Wis. -based Bon-Ton also has several Herberger's stores in Greater Minnesota, including Mankato, St. Cloud and Rochester, along with Younkers stores in Duluth and Austin.

According to Bon-Ton's website, the chain operates 254 stores, which includes nine furniture galleries, in 23 states in the Northeast, Midwest and upper Great Plains under the Bon-Ton, Boston Store, Bergner's, Carson's, Elder-Beerman, Herberger's and Younkers nameplates.

Bon-Ton, founded in 1898, operates 260 stores in 24 states and had been hoping to sell to US mall owners Namdar Realty Group and Washington Prime Group to secure a bid that would have kept many of its locations open, Reuters reported. The bankrupt department-store chain appears to be heading for liquidation after receiving two bids, both from liquidators, in a court-supervised bankruptcy auction on Monday.