Uncertain future for Herberger's after parent company files for bankruptcy protection

The retail chain is struggling against the online onslaught.

What's happening?

Bon-Ton Stores Inc., the company that owns several retail chains including Herberger's, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

It becomes the latest retail company to use the bankruptcy courts to give it time to restructure in the wake of the onslaught from online competitors.


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What does this mean for Herberger's?

Right now, there are no imminent changes to Herberger's stores other than those already announced last week.

The Bon-Ton confirmed it intends to close down 47 stores it owns from its various subsidiaries, including some Herberger's.

One of them is in Minnesota, the Herberger's Clearance Center in Maplewood.

What does it mean for the future?

Bankruptcy protection followed by a restructuring is never something you want to hear about a retailer, and the signs for the Bon-Ton are not good.

In its statement, the company said it's exploring "strategic alternatives" that may include selling all of the company or some of its assets.

Takeovers and sell-offs tend to lead to shutdowns of the more unprofitable stores.

Herberger's has a big presence in Minnesota, from Albert Lea and Austin in the south to Bemidji and Virginia in the north.

The loss of the Maplewood clearance center leaves the retailer with 20 stores in Minnesota, of which five are in the Twin Cities metro.

The bankruptcy move follows struggles from fellow bricks-and-mortar retailers, including Toys 'R' Us and Payless Shoesource.

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