Apparel, accessories and home furnishings retailer The Bon-Ton Stores Inc expects its full-year earnings to be at the lower end of earlier guidance amid slow autumn sales and fears of a soft holiday season.

The firm, which operates 281 stores, had forecast a loss of $1.17 to $1.67 per share including the write-off of goodwill in fiscal 2008. Excluding the write-off of goodwill, the loss would be $0.45 to $0.95 per share.

Keith Plowman, executive vice president and chief financial officer, said: "Given the current economic environment, we expect sales trends to remain soft and margins to be pressured by increasing promotional activity.

"We will continue to closely monitor our sales and the consumer's reaction to the developing macroeconomic environment."