* Posts Q4 loss
* Sales drop 9.4 pct to $1.03 bln
* Sees ‘09 loss wider than est
March 11 (Reuters) - Bon-Ton Stores Inc BONT.O swung to a fourth-quarter loss, hurt by impairment charges, and forecast a wider-than-expected loss for 2009, as the ongoing consumer slump keeps crimping business.
The apparel and home furnishings retailer posted a loss of $87.7 million, or $5.22 a share, compared with earnings of $75.2 million, or $4.43 a share, in the year-ago period.
However, excluding asset impairment charges of $7.39 per share, the York, Pennsylvania-based company earned $2.17 per share.
Analysts were expecting the company to earn $2.12 a share.
For 2009, Bon-Ton, which operates the Bon-Ton, Elder-Beerman, Boston Store and Carson Pirie Scott chains, sees a loss of $3.40 to $4.30 a share, while analysts were expecting a loss of $2.41 a share.
Chief Executive Bud Bergren said the company’s cost savings plan for fiscal 2009 is expected to generate $70 million in annual savings.
In January, the retailer had announced plans to cut about 1,150 jobs and eliminate 2008 bonuses for its senior executives in a bid to control costs amid a worsening economy.
Shares of Bon-Ton had closed at $1.13 Tuesday on Nasdaq. (Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee in Bangalore; Editing by Anil D‘Silva)