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Bon-Ton Stores slides on weaker 2Q results

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Bon-Ton Stores slumped after the department store chain reported a bigger-than-expected second-quarter loss and weaker sales.

Bon-Ton said its sales were hurt by inclement weather and higher gas prices, especially in the Northeast and Midwest. The York, Pa., company lowered its forecast for the rest of the year.

Its shares fell $1.35, or 9.4 percent, to $13.04 in morning trading.

The company operates 270 department stores in 24 states in the Northeast, Midwest and upper Great Plains. Bon-Ton Stores Inc. said it took a loss of $37.3 million, or $1.95 per share, over the three months ended Aug. 3. A year ago the company lost $45 million, or $2.43 per share, in the second quarter. Its net sales fell 6 percent, to $557.1 million from $594.9 million. Bon-Ton said sales at stores open at least a year dropped 6.4 percent.

Analysts had forecast a loss of $1.38 per share and $613.8 million in revenue, according to FactSet. They expected sales at stores open at least a year to decrease 1.3 percent.

Sales at stores open at least a year are considered a key measurement of retailer performance because they exclude results from stores that opened or closed within the last year.

Bon-Ton, which does most of its business in the second half of the year, is now forecasting net income of 15 to 75 cents per share in fiscal 2013. That's down from its previous estimate of 40 cents to $1 per share.

Analysts expected 80 cents per share.