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Bon-Ton Stores Files for Bankruptcy Protection

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BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -

Bon-Ton Stores filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sunday and is searching a sale of part or all of the company. It is the largest retailer to do so this year.

The store chain, operating 260 stores in 24 states with headquarters in York, Pennsylvania and Milwaukee, is facing enormous debt and fighting to keep up with the sales of online retailers such as Amazon. So far, 40 stores across the U.S. are likely to be shut down.

"We are currently engaged in discussions with potential investors and our debt holders on a financial restructuring plan," said CEO Bill Tracy in a statement.

Bon-Ton Stores joins many others that have filed for Chapter 11 last year, including Toys R Us, Payless ShoeSource and Gymboree Corp. There are more expected to join them as online shopping becomes more of a first option.