Days after local store closed, Bergner's hinting at a comeback

Days after local store closed, Bergner's hinting at a comeback

CHAMPAIGN — Less than a week after Bergner's thanked its loyal shoppers and staff on Facebook for a great final summer, its website is hinting the retailer is poised for a comeback.

What that might mean for the now-shuttered 154,000-square-foot Bergner's space at Market Place Shopping Center — and all the other Bergner's locations that closed with it on Aug. 29 — is hard to say.

"We've got great news. Bergner's is coming back," the site at bergners.com said in a holiday-weekend post. "Stay tuned for updates in the coming weeks. We appreciate your loyalty and look forward to being able to serve you again soon."

Bergner's sister chains — which have included Boston Store, Carson's, Herberger's, Elder-Beerman and Younkers — had similar announcements posted on their websites days after their stores also closed.

Their parent company, Bon-Ton Stores, filed for bankruptcy protection in February, and a liquidation sale at more than 200 stores, including the Champaign Bergner's, was launched in April.

Rights to relaunch the retailer and its brands were close to being acquired, USA Today reported via anonymous sources it said were familiar with the deal. The future operation would center on website sales, but there were also plans to open brick-and-mortar locations in four states, among them Illinois, the newspaper reported.

Scott Carpenter, president of retail solutions with the company leading Bon-Ton's liquidation, Great American Group, issued a statement to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel saying the company's intellectual property is in the process of being sold.

"We cannot speak to the purchaser's future plans with the company. All inquiries should be referred to the buyer, which will be disclosed once the transaction is closed," he said.

Market Place General Manager Dennis Robertson said Tuesday he didn't know what was driving the store comeback reports.

"Bergner's would need to clarify or reply to questions about the validity," Robertson said.

Sections (3):News, Local, Business
Topics (2):Internet, Retail
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