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Retail expert weighs in on Boston Store comeback

Posted: 10:18 PM, Sep 17, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-18 21:17:45Z

A retail industry expert says he was surprised to learn that Boston Store's new company is planning to reopen brick and mortar stores. 

This comes after news Monday that at least two to three Boston Store locations will reopen before the holidays in the Milwaukee metro area. 

Overall, the company will reopen stores in six states. 

"The concept will be a little different," said Fred Hulls, VP of Communication for Bon Ton Stores. "As well as offering services like personal styling and interior design, the new concept store will have longer hours from Thursday through Sunday, when people want to shop and fewer hours during the working week."

Jerry O'Brien, the executive director of The Kohl’s Center for Retailing Excellence at UW Madison said it's rare for a bankrupt company to come back under new ownership, but under the same name. 

"I’ve never heard of a store doing the Thursday through Sunday thing before so that will be exciting to watch from my point of view," said O'Brien. 

While he's surprised that physical locations will reopen, he said some of their ideas are smart. For example, the new stores will be a lot smaller, about 50,000 to 60,000 square feet. 

"I think the smaller format makes very good sense," said O'Brien. "Inventory expenses are high. This should give them a chance to refresh more often." 

He said Boston Store's challenge will be making themselves stand out from other stores, and deciding what brands to bring in. 

"I think it's clever to try something new," said O'Brien. "Obviously if they opened up and did what they did before, they'd get a similar result. "I do think the [history] of the Boston store and their other brands...there's a chance that people are longing for them."

Previous employees are encouraged to apply for positions by going to any of the Bon-Ton Stores websites including Bostonstore.com .