Mobile sales jump 73% at Bon-Ton

November 28, 2016 01:00 PM

Mobile sales continued to grow in the face of flagging overall sales during the fiscal third quarter for The Bon-Ton Stores Inc.

CEO Kathy Bufano told analysts on the retailer’s Q3 2016 earnings call earlier this month that sales completed on mobile devices are up 73% year-over-year, while traffic is up 30%. Bufano attributed those gains to investments and improvements her team has made to the mobile site.

“The mobile navigation is designed so shoppers make fewer clicks to search for products and includes add-on functionality that allows us to make further enhancements to the site in the future,” Bufano told analysts on the call, according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha. “We will continue to invest in digital media for mobile.”

The regional department store chain did not disclose web or mobile sales figures.

Bon-Ton, No. 169 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, reported overall sales dropped 5.4% year over year during Q3. Omnichannel sales, defined as online, mobile and orders placed online that are picked up in store, grew by 27% compared with the year-ago quarter. Bon-Ton completed its rollout of buy online, pickup in store capabilities at all stores during the quarter.

The retail chain is profiting more from online and mobile sales, thanks in part to a renegotiated contract with shipping carrier FedEx Corp. The new deal is expected to save the retailer $40 million in delivery costs over the next three years, and the full ramping up of Bon-Ton’s Ohio, e-commerce fulfillment center, which opened last year. When Bon-Ton announced the West Jefferson, Ohio, facility last year, it said it eventually would increase the daily online order volume Bon-Ton could fulfill to 350,000 from 40,000.

 “A year ago we had just launched West Jefferson at the end of September and early October, so we had the normal startup pressures,” Bufano said. “We're finally getting to a point of efficiency in West Jefferson.”

For the fiscal third quarter ended Oct. 29, Bon-Ton reported:

  • Net sales of $589.4 million, down 5.5% from $623.4 million last year.
  • A year-over-year comparable-store sales decrease of 4.9%.
  • A net loss of $31.6 million, compared with a $34.0 million loss.

For the first nine months of fiscal 2016, Bon-Ton reported:

  • Net sales of $1.723 billion, down 3.7% from $1.790 billion.
  • A net loss of $108.1 million, compared with a net loss of $107.6 million.



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