The Herberger's store in Rapid City's Rushmore Mall is slated to close after its parent company, Bon-Ton Stores Inc., was sold to a liquidation company on Wednesday.
The Rapid City store is one of four in South Dakota that will be closed as a result of the liquidation. Herberger's stores in Aberdeen and Watertown and the Younkers store in Sioux Falls are also slated to close.
Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender said it's unfortunate when national corporate decisions have very real local ramifications.
"It is not a good sign whenever a corporate headquarters seeks bankruptcy protection, as the impact of a national decision can be felt in Rapid City and other rural communities and states," he said. "We continue to emphasize the need and importance of shopping local, whether it is the small mom-and-pop business or the local franchise store, to maintain the vitality and viability of our local businesses and their employees."
Two liquidation firms were the victors of an auction for the bankrupt company's assets, after the retailer failed to find a bidder willing to continue operating the business. A bankruptcy court hearing is scheduled for Wednesday to approve the sale and liquidation details.
"While we are disappointed by this outcome and tried very hard to identify bidders interested in operating the business as a going concern, we are committed to working constructively with the winning bidder to ensure an orderly wind-down of operations," said President and CEO Bill Tracy.
The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. was operating 260 stores in 24 states, largely in the Northeast and Midwest, when it filed for bankruptcy in January. Liquidation firms Great American Group and Tiger Capital Group are the winners of the auction.
The 160-year-old company has survived economic recessions and depressions, but it couldn't withstand technology that bolstered the ascendance of electronic retailing. The shift toward e-commerce, led by Amazon.com Inc., has claimed many other traditional and mall-based retailers, including cultural retail behemoth Toys R Us.
Toys R Us is in the process of shutting down its U.S. business. In March it initiated a going-out-of-business sale at its stores after operating under bankruptcy protection for months.