Bon-Ton's sales have been declining for years, and after declaring bankruptcy earlier this year, the company struggled to find a buyer that would keep the stores open, said Ken Perkins, president of Boston-based research firm Retail Metrics.
The winning bidder is a joint venture of bondholders and liquidators, including Great American Group and Tiger Capital Group, both of whom also assisted in selling off assets in bankruptcy deals with Payless Shoesource and Toys "R" Us.
U.S. Bankruptcy Court is expected to approve a sale today that would likely mean the end for Peru's Bergner's store.
Bon-Ton's stores, e-commerce and mobile platforms will remain open through the store closing sales, the company said in a release, adding that more details about the liquidation plans and going-out-of-business sales are forthcoming.
Bon-Ton's roots stretch back to 1898 and evolved from S. Grumbacher & Son, a dry goods store in York, Pa.
The future is unsure for one of the anchors of the Olean Center Mall after media outlets reported a setback in bankruptcy proceedings.
More than 200 of the company's stores will be put on the chopping block.
Berry said Cullinan is actively looking for opportunities to back-sell the space to get it filled. "Our hope is if that store is no longer a Younkers that it becomes something else".
On Tuesday a spokeswoman for the mall's parent company Macerich said the company would not comment on Younkers' business.
A statement on the Bon-Ton website said, "Bon-Ton will move forward in a constructive manner to ensure an orderly wind-down of operations that minimizes the impact of this (auction) development on our associates, customers, vendors and the communities we serve".
The Herberger's in Ottumwa will be closing, as well as Younkers in the following Iowa locations: West Des Moines, Mason City, Fort Dodge, Davenport, West Burlington, Dubuque, Des Moines, Coralville, West Des Moines, Muscatine, Waterloo. The WARN filing did not mention the Davenport or Muscatine stores, but the latest development made it clear all the stores will close.