USA department store chain Bon-Ton heads to liquidation

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The Register story indicates that all 15 Younkers stores in the state, including the one at NorthPark Mall in Davenport, will shutter when the store's parent company, Milwaukee-based Bon-Ton Inc. moves through bankruptcy.

Bankrupt department-store chain Bon-Ton Stores Inc. appears to be heading for liquidation after receiving two bids, both from liquidators, in a court-supervised bankruptcy auction on Monday, as the Central Penn Business Journal explained Tuesday morning.

However, Reuters also reported that the auction was still in progress late Monday night.

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Younkers was founded in Keokuk, Iowa in 1856 and opened its flagship store in Des Moines in 1874.

Bon-Ton had been working with an investor group that included USA mall owners Namdar Realty Group and Washington Prime Group Inc.to secure a bid that would have kept Bon-Ton in business as a going concern.

Now there are 8 Bon-Ton locations here including one at the McKinley Mall, who really can not afford to lose another property.

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A Bon-Ton spokesperson was not immediately available for comment on the auction.

But U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Mary Walrath said last week she would not approve that payment, noting Bon-Ton was not paying the fees of any other bidders and that the offer from the investor group did not amount to a qualified bid.

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.

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Once the deal is approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware, the liquidation firm can begin going-out-of-business sales.

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