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Could Nittany Mall lose another anchor? Bon-Ton will close at least 40 stores.

Bon-Ton is going to close about 15 percent of its stores in 2018.

The company has not released what locations will be shuttered, leaving the Nittany Mall anchor store’s future uncertain. Sears, not including its auto services location, will close in January.

The announcement that the company, co-headquartered in York County and Milwaukee, would close at least 40 of its 260 stores next year was made in a statement by Bon-Ton President and CEO William Tracy. The company’s top executive acknowledged third-quarter earnings, which decreased 6.6 percent year-over-year, fell short of expectations, prompting changes.

“We are taking more aggressive actions to fuel improved performance as well as strengthen our financial position,” he said in a statement. “We are executing with a sense of urgency as we work to enhance our merchandise assortment, drive growth in omnichannel, and implement a more focused marketing strategy to improve traffic and customer engagement.”

Cost reductions, led by the store closures, will be integral to the company’s strategy.

“(Closures) will enable us with moving forward with a more productive store footprint and redirecting capital expenditures toward investments designed to drive sales growth,” Tracy said. “We are working with our advisors to proactively engage with our debt holders to establish a sustainable capital structure to support the business. We believe that the actions we are taking position us to drive improved and consistent financial performance over the long term.”

Bon-Ton also has locations in Lewistown, Sunbury, Johnstown and Dubois.

Nittany Mall management could not be reached for comment. Store employees at the mall location declined to comment.

Shawn Annarelli: 814-235-3928, @Shawn_Annarelli

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