• Q4 earnings down to US$61.3m
  • Gross margin at 36.3%
  • Sales fall 9.9%

The CEO of The Bon-Ton Stores, Brendan Hoffman has announced his decision to step down next year as the US department store retailer revealed a drop in fourth-quarter earnings and sales.

Hoffman said today (11 March) he will not renew his employment agreement with the company at its expiration on 7 February next year. He said his decision to leave is for "strictly personal reasons".

Separately, Bon-Ton revealed a fall in net income to US$61.3m from $74.4m a year earlier. Gross margin edged up to 36.3%, compared with 36.2% in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012.

Sales, however, dropped 9.9% to $914.9m. While comparable store sales were down 7.3%.

CEO Brendan Hoffman said the results were "disappointing" and were impacted by multiple snowstorms and that a polar vortex during December and January resulted in a sharp decline in traffic.

For fiscal 2014, the company is guiding for income per diluted share in the range of $0.40 to $0.70 and for a comparable store sales increase of 1% to 3%.