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Bon-Ton Debt Drops Most 4 Months as Clothing Sales Fall

Bon-Ton Stores Inc.’s bonds climbed to the highest price in more than two weeks after the retailer reported that sales rose this month.

Bon-Ton’s $464 million of 10.25 percent notes due March 2014 jumped 4.5 cents on the dollar to 71 cents to yield 33 percent at 9:28 a.m. in New York, the highest since May 15, according to Trace, the bond-price reporting system of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Comparable store sales rose 1.5 percent in the four weeks that ended May 26, the York, Pennsylvania-based retailer said today in a statement.

Bon-Ton, which has department stores in the U.S. Northeast and Midwest, is seeking to lure new customers with trendier apparel as it tries to make enough money to pay off or refinance some of its debts before the 2014 notes come due. In January, the chain appointed Brendan Hoffman, the former head of Lord & Taylor LLC, as chief executive officer.

“Compelling new offerings and refinements in our marketing efforts yielded positive results,” Hoffman said in the statement.

Total sales increased 1.2 percent to $183.1 million for the period, from $181 million a year earlier, according to the statement. Bon-Ton also said today that it had $423 million of excess borrowing capacity under its credit facility, up from $400 million at the end of April, according to a May 3 statement.

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