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Bon-Ton Stores is reshuffling its leadership as it attempts to shake off the clouds that have loomed over the struggling department store sector.

The US-based company, which operates 261 stores in 25 states, said on Monday that chief executive Kathryn Bufano would step down in August, after staying on to help facilitate the transition. Her replacement will be the company’s current chief operating officer, William Tracy, who has served in that role since 2015 and previously held senior positions at other department-store operators including Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor, as well as shoe chain Nine West.

Tim Grumbaucher, who chairs Bon-Ton’s board, said in a statement:

“Bill is a proven leader with more than 40 years of retail experience in the areas of operations, supply chain management and logistics for national department stores. We are confident that Bill will be a successful leader based on his in-depth knowledge of the retail industry, his operational expertise and his understanding of the Bon-Ton business.”

Mr Grumbacher himself announced on Friday that he will be retiring on May 13, to be replaced by current board member Debra Simon.

Bon-Ton also named Chad Stauffer — who currently serves as its general merchandise manager — as its new chief merchandising officer.

The department-store chain has suffered from the same declining mall foot traffic and rising competition from online retailers that have plagued some of its competitors. For fiscal year 2016, it reported its latest in a string of year-on-year net sales declines, from $2.7bn to $2.6bn. And it’s not the only of its rivals to try to shake things up by swapping out top leadership — Macy’s last year replaced its chief executive amid falling sales and profits and other department stores have also made notable changes to their C-suite line ups.

Bon-Ton shares were down 2.3 per cent in after-hours trading. It is due to report first-quarter earnings on May 18.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018. All rights reserved.

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