Younkers, Herberger's likely headed toward liquidation

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Bon-Ton filed for bankruptcy February 4 and had been searching for a buyer that would allow it to stay in business.

On Friday, Bon-Ton filed notice that it had selected the Hilco/Gordon Brothers bid as the baseline bid for the bankruptcy auction.

Bon-Ton is set to wind down after a bankruptcy auction for its assets drew only liquidation bids, according to Reuters, which cited unnamed sources.

The company has two large stores in southeastern Minnesota, including Herberger's in Rochester's Apache Mall and Younkers in Austin's Oak Park Mall.

Now there are 8 Bon-Ton locations here including one at the McKinley Mall, who really can not afford to lose another property. The department store chain was sold first to Equitable of Iowa in 1978 and then to Saks INc.in 1996. The auction ran late Monday and is still underway, according to NY research firm Reorg Research. It has stores throughout the state including the Boston Stores at Mayfair Mall in Wauwatosa, Southridge Mall in Greendale, the Shops of Grand Avenue in downtown Milwaukee, Bayshore Town Center in Glendale, Brookfield Square Mall in Brookfield and Regency Mall in Racine.

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According to reports, that bid was not successful.

Bon-Ton operates two Younkers stores in Omaha at Oak View and Westroads Malls and one at Gateway Mall in Lincoln.

According to Reuters, once the company selects a winning bidder and the proposed deal is approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware, the liquidator can begin selling the inventory, store leases, fixtures and intellectual property.

If it does go out of business, it would be the second big-box chain to close Lincoln stores this year.

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