Oct 13, 2008
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Bon-Ton inventories hit by tighter credit-paper

Oct 13, 2008

Oct 13 (Reuters) - Apparel and home furnishings retailer Bon-Ton Stores Inc is facing tightened credit for inventory deliveries as the crucial holiday season approaches, the New York Post reported, citing sources.

Big clothing manufacturers have tightened terms on shipments and are demanding quicker payments from Bon-Ton but are expected to ship orders through Christmas, the paper said.


"We have plenty of cash on hand to get us through the holiday season without any issues," Bon-Ton spokeswoman Mary Kerr told the paper, noting the retailer had $241 million available on a revolving credit line on Sept 30.

Small suppliers to the York, Pennsylvania-based retailer, in recent weeks, have said credit to make deliveries is drying up as lenders have all but stopped extending credit for deliveries during November and December, the paper said.

Kerr confirmed to the paper that Bon-Ton was in talks with some suppliers to resolve the issue but added it did not intend to pay upfront cash for any deliveries as some suppliers had demanded.

The retailer, which has been looking to expand its exclusive brands this year and build its franchise business in categories such as handbags and furniture, reduced comparable store inventories by 9 percent in its second quarter.

Kerr also said the operator of the Bon-Ton, Boston Store, Elder-Beerman, and Carson Pirie Scott chains, was on track to reduce long-term debt by as much as $50 million by the end of the year, the paper said.

Bon-Ton could not be immediately reached for comment by Reuters. (Reporting by Savio D'Souza in Bangalore)

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