Is Younkers making a comeback? Check out its website

Published 8:25 am Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Only a few days after Younkers closed its doors in Austin and its other locations across the country, the company’s website is hinting at a comeback.

“We’ve got great news! Younkers is coming back!” is the online teaser at the top of the Bon-Ton Stores website, the parent company of Younkers. While Bon-Ton has been mum about the details — only saying  “Stay tuned for updates over the coming weeks. We appreciate your loyalty & look forward to being able to serve you again soon” — business leaders and media outlets have been speculating since late last week about a re-emergence of the chain.

The Younkers store in Austin closed its doors last Wednesday, part of a nationwide closure of all Bon-Ton Stores, announced earlier this year. The same image and teasing message could be found at the top of other Bon-Ton Stores Inc. websites, including the Herberger’s, Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Carson’s and Elder Beerman nameplates.

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USA Today reported last week “the rights to relaunch the retailer and its subsidiary brands are close to being acquired, according to people familiar with the matter who requested anonymity because the deal is not yet final.”

However, the Des Moines Register on the same day quoted Randy Tennison, general manager of Jordan Creek Town Center in West Des Moines. “There’s no way that can be real,” he said. “For the last month Younkers didn’t really exist, the liquidation company owned it.”

Tina Potthoff, vice president of communications for Hy-Vee, the owner of the Austin store, said Tuesday she was unaware of the Bon-Ton announcement.

The news comes after Bon-Ton in April announced it would close all of its stores nationwide as part of a liquidation of the company’s assets. Bon-Ton and its subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions for a court-supervised financial restructuring under Chapter 11 in February.

At the time of the announcement, Bon-Ton operated 250 stores in 23 states.

The reinvented stores would be a sleeker, more e-commerce focused business that is centered around its website with plans to reopen physical locations in Illinois, Colorado, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania the USA Today reported.

Sarah Stultz of the Albert Lea Tribune contributed to this article.