The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc.

The "retail apocalypse" rages on in the United States, as The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. filed for bankruptcy in early February 2018. The Pennsylvania-based department store operator's FRISK® score had flatlined at a "1" - the lowest-possible score on the FRISK® scale - dating all the way back to 2016. The FRISK® score monitors U.S. public company financial distress and bankruptcy risk with 96% accuracy within a 12-month window.

Bon Ton FRISK image

In this Bankruptcy Case Study, we evaluate various factors that contributed to the downfall of this large department store chain. Moreover, we also review a timeline of concerning headlines that would have helped a credit professional adjust risk exposure leading up to the bankruptcy. One notable red flag was that Bon-Ton hired a restructuring advisor in September 2017.

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Our FRISK® score model incorporates four powerful risk inputs:

  • “Merton”-type model of stock market capitalization and volatility
  • Financial ratios, including those used in the Altman Z”-Score Model
  • Bond agency ratings from Fitch, Moody's, and DBRS Morningstar
  • Website click pattern data from CreditRiskMonitor® subscribers, representing key credit decision-makers at more than 35% of current Fortune 1000 companies plus thousands of other large companies worldwide

Since the start of 2017, the FRISK® score’s rate of success in capturing public company bankruptcy is 96%: 235 identified out of 243 bankruptcies. In any given year, you can count on one hand the times we miss – and in those outlier cases, the circumstances deal with unusual, unforeseen events such as natural disasters and CEO fraud.

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About Bankruptcy Case Studies

CreditRiskMonitor® Bankruptcy Case Studies provide post-filing analyses of public company bankruptcies. Our case studies educate subscribers about methods they can apply to assess bankruptcy risk using our proprietary FRISK® score, robust financial database, and timely news alerts.

In nearly every case, a low FRISK® score gave our subscribers early warning of financial distress within a one-year time horizon. Our proprietary FRISK® score predicts bankruptcy risk at public companies with 96% accuracy. The score is formulated by a number of indicators including stock market capitalization and volatility, financial ratios, bond agency ratings from Moody’s, Fitch and DBRS, and crowdsourced behavioral data from a subscriber group that includes 35% of the Fortune 1000 and thousands more worldwide.

Whether you are new to credit analysis or have decades of experience under your belt, CreditRiskMonitor® Bankruptcy Case Studies offer unique insights into the business and financial decline that precedes bankruptcy.