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NEW YORK (KDKA/AP) – Bon-Ton Stores, struggling with weak sales and saddled with debt, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The department store chain filed Sunday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Delaware. Several dozen retailers including Toys R Us, Payless ShoeSource and Gymboree Corp., have filed for reorganization over the past year as shoppers abandon traditional stores.

Bon-Ton has been hurt by shoppers’ changing behavior, and its $1 billion in debt gives it less flexibility to invest in stores and online.

The company, which operates 260 stores from headquarters in Milwaukee and York, Pennsylvania, saw holiday sales at established stores fall 2.9 percent. Overall the retail industry had a good season, helped by a solid economy.

Last week, the company said that it would close a total of 17 stores in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, where the company has dual headquarters.

In Pennsylvania, Bon-Ton stores in Erie (Millcreek Mall) and Johnstown (The Johnstown Galleria) are among those to be closed.

The company says its stories, e-commerce and mobile platforms will operate as usual during the restructuring.

(TM and © Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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