Younkers' owner appears headed toward liquidation, closure

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It appears the end might be near for Younkers and other Bon-Ton Stores brands. The chain hasn't turned a profit since 2010. But that potential bid came with several contingencies, including a request that the court approve a $500,000 "work fee" to cover the group's expenses as it prepared a formal bid.

But when the bidding opened, reports indicate the only firms offering bids were liquidators.

Stores operated by Bon-Ton include Bergner's, Boston Stores, Carson's, Elder-Beerman, Herberger's and Younkers, but most of its stores have histories that predate the parent company.

On Friday, Bon-Ton filed notice that it had selected the Hilco/Gordon Brothers bid as the baseline bid for the bankruptcy auction. After the two stores close, the mall's sole remaining anchor store will be Von Maur.

The effect of a Bon-Ton closure at Eastern Hills Mall would likely have less impact.

The Oakdale Mall in Johnson City opened in 1975.

Bon-Ton is one of just roughly 20 stores remaining at the struggling Olean Center Mall. Its 200 stores anchor many mall across the USA under a variety of brand names.

The failure of the company, with headquarters in York, Pennsylvania and Milwaukee, comes weeks after Toys R Us began a piecemeal liquidation of its namesake stores and Babies R Us, the latest sign of upheaval in the retail industry.

In September 1944, Younkers opened a location at Second and South Federal in Mason City, the second Younkers branch store in the state.

Brick and mortar retailers have faced growing pressure from internet sales and discount retailers like Walmart and Target. Some locations will close under each banner.