• Q3 net loss widens to $22.0m from $6.3m
  • Sales dropped 6.3% to $656.1m from $700.5m
  • Comparable store sales decreased 5.9%

Regional department store retailer The Bon-Ton Stores Inc has more than tripled its third quarter loss as poor demand and price hikes took their toll on sales.

"Our third quarter performance did not meet our expectations," said president and CEO Bud Bergren.

"Performance in our moderate traditional assortments was soft and customers were not accepting of price increases in these categories, which further pressured sales results. Additionally, our marketing efforts did not drive the sales we had anticipated."

Looking ahead, he said the retailer has "significantly expanded" its stronger selling categories, and is "planning more aggressive promotional events to drive traffic and transactions."

He added: "We believe our inventory is now priced appropriately and well-positioned heading into the holiday season and the changes we have instituted in merchandising and marketing will yield improved results in the fourth quarter."

Gross margin rate in the quarter fell to 37.4% of net sales compared with 38.2% in the prior year period, reflecting higher markdowns.