PEORIA — The Bergner's department store in the Sheridan Village shopping center in Central Peoria is to close permanently by summer.

The Sheridan Village location was among seven stores in Illinois targeted for closure on a list released Wednesday by Bergner's parent company, The Bon-Ton Stores Inc.

Financially beleaguered Bon-Ton announced late last year it was planning to close some of its stores. Few if any had been identified publicly.

Peoria is where Bergner's was founded, almost 130 years ago. The Sheridan Village Bergner's has been open more than 60 years.

“As part of the comprehensive turnaround plan we announced in November, we are taking the next steps in our efforts to move forward with a more productive store footprint,” Bill Tracy, Bon-Ton president and CEO, stated in a news release. “Including other recently announced store closures, we expect to close a total of 47 stores in early 2018.

"We remain focused on executing our key initiatives to drive improved performance in an effort to strengthen our capital structure to support the business going forward.”

Liquidation sales are expected to begin Thursday and last for 10 to 12 weeks, the news release stated.

The Bon-Ton decisions were announced as Mayor Jim Ardis was giving his annual State of the City address at the Peoria Civic Center. The speech highlighted positive economic news in Peoria over the past year, including the proposed new OSF HealthCare headquarters Downtown and the progress of locally based start-up companies.

"Bergner's has been around this community for a long, long time," Ardis said following his speech. "It's been a good company, provided good products and employed a lot of people. But they're falling victim, like a lot of the other brick-and-mortar folks are, to the competition that they're up against with the internet.

"I'm sad to see them go. We will work with the owners to hopefully fill that space and keep moving forward."

Toronto-based Northbridge Investment Managment paid $13 million last year to purchase the shopping center.

Northbridge partner Michael Lazier received word of Bon-Ton intentions about 12:15 p.m. Wednesday, he stated in an email. That was about the same time the news was released publicly.

“Although it is sad to see that Bergner’s will be closing their doors at Sheridan Village, we have been proactively working through repositioning options for the department store," Lazier stated in another email, sent Wednesday evening. "We look forward to working with the City of Peoria and other stakeholders to achieve great results for the center and the greater community.

"Sheridan Village remains a vibrant center with a bright future.”

Sheridan Village, which opened in the mid-to-late 1950s, already had a number of vacancies before the Bon-Ton announcement. A Hy-Vee supermarket is the other main tenant in the shopping center at Lake Avenue and Sheridan Road.

Earlier this week, Bon-Ton revealed details about its turnaround plan. It includes debt restructuring, closing underperforming stores and increasing marketing and online sales.

A bankruptcy filing has been speculated. Bon-Ton has about $1.1 billion in debt, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Bon-Ton is based in Milwaukee and York, Pa., and operates about 260 stores nationally. Company brand names include its own, Bergner's, Boston Store, Carson's, Elder-Beerman, Herberger's and Younkers.

Peter A. Bergner opened his namesake store in 1889 at Adams and Cedar streets in Peoria. Maus Freres, a Swiss department-store holding company, purchased Bergner's in 1938 and owned it for decades afterward.

The Sheridan Village outlet opened in 1957. Bergner's stores also opened in the Madison Park shopping center in Limestone Township and in other downstate Illinois communities.

In 1985, Bergner's headquarters moved from Peoria to Milwaukee after the company purchased the Boston Store chain, which was based in Wisconsin. Downtown and Madison Park locations closed in the '80s and '90s.

Following a bankruptcy filing and various mergers and acquisitions, Bergner's was purchased in 2005 by Bon-Ton.

Bergner's stores are to remain open in The Shoppes at Grand Prairie in Peoria and in Galesburg, Pekin and Peru. The Grand Prairie location, which opened in the early 2000s, is considered to be Bergner's flagship.

Other Bon-Ton stores scheduled for elimination in Illinois are Carson's locations in Aurora, Chicago, Danville, DeKalb, Morton Grove and Schaumburg.

Nick Vlahos can be reached at 686-3285 or Follow him on Twitter @VlahosNick.