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Bon-Ton Stores 3rd-quarter loss narrows

YORK, Pa. (AP) -- Bon-Ton Stores' fiscal third-quarter loss narrowed partly on lower expenses as a key revenue metric improved.

The retailer has worked throughout the year to control costs, provide a better merchandise assortment and refine its marketing efforts, President and CEO Brendan Hoffman said in a statement Thursday.

For the period ended Oct. 27, Bon-Ton lost $10.1 million, or 55 cents per share. That compares with a loss of $22 million, or $1.21 per share, a year earlier.

Selling, general and administrative expenses and depreciation and amortization expenses declined 4.3 percent in the quarter.

Revenue rose 2 percent to $668.7 million from $656.1 million. Wall Street expected higher revenue of $674.3 million, according to FactSet.

Bon-Ton's stock dropped 51 cents, or 4.7 percent, to $10.42 in afternoon trading. The shares have traded in a 52-week range of $2.23 to $14.99.

Revenue at stores open at least a year, a key gauge of a retailer's health, climbed 1.9 percent. This figure excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.

The gross margin rate fell mostly because of increased markdowns and delivery costs.

For fiscal 2012, Bon-Ton Stores Inc. still expects somewhere between a loss of $1.35 per share and a profit of 20 cents per share.

The company, which has corporate offices in York, Pa., and Milwaukee, runs 273 department stores, which includes 11 furniture galleries, in 24 states.