Business

Quincy's Bergner's store set to close

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Posted: Apr. 18, 2018 11:02 am Updated: Apr. 18, 2018 9:35 pm

QUINCY — The Bergner's department store in the Quincy Mall will be closed as its parent company Bon-Ton is liquidating.

Anaise Berry, director of marketing with Quincy Mall owner Cullinan Properties, said with the only bidders for the store's parent company being liquidation firms, it would be inevitable that the store would close.

The liquidation process normally takes 10 to 12 weeks, but Berry said nothing has been set.

Two liquidation firms are the victors of an auction for the bankrupt company's assets, after the retailer failed to find a bidder willing to continue operating the business. A bankruptcy court hearing is scheduled for Wednesday to approve the sale and liquidation details.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Judge Mary Walrath of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., on Wednesday cleared the way for a sale to a group of bondholders and a pair of liquidators, which will begin closing more than 250 stores across 23 states, putting about 24,000 employees out of work.

All stores are set to be closed no later than Aug. 31, court papers show.

“While we are disappointed by this outcome and tried very hard to identify bidders interested in operating the business as a going concern, we are committed to working constructively with the winning bidder to ensure an orderly wind-down of operations,” said President and CEO Bill Tracy.

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. was operating 260 stores in 24 states, largely in the Northeast and Midwest, when it filed for bankruptcy in January. Liquidation firms Great American Group and Tiger Capital Group are the winners of the auction.

The 160-year-old company has survived economic recessions and depressions, but it couldn't withstand technology that bolstered the ascendance of electronic retailing. The shift toward e-commerce, led by Amazon.com Inc., has claimed many other traditional and mall-based retailers, including cultural retail behemoth Toys R Us.

Reuters reported that it is possible that some of the stores could be acquired by another retail operator and reopen under on the the Bon-Ton names.

Berry said the Quincy Mall's Bergner's was one of the best performing stores in Bon-Ton's portfolio, but Cullinan has been aware of the company's financial challenges.

“It was our hope it wouldn't come to a liquidation situation, but given we've known they've been very challenged financially, we have been evaluating opportunities to backfill that space for several months,” she said.

Berry said the mall has recently seen the opening of the Slumberland in the former JC Penney space, as well as Sidell's Bakery & Diner, as part of Cullinan Kickstart program. Que Town BBQ is expected to open later this spring.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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