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The Younkers store at Gateway Mall began its going-out-of-business sale Friday.

Going-out-of-business sales started Friday at all Bon-Ton Stores locations, including the Younkers store at Gateway Mall in Lincoln and eight other company locations in Nebraska.

The company said the sales are expected to take 10-12 weeks, which would mean most stores would likely close in late June or early July, although court documents indicated stores could remain open until the end of August.

Bon-Ton, which has been in business more than a century, declared bankruptcy in February. It attempted to restructure and find a buyer that would keep stores open, but at a bankruptcy auction earlier this week, the only bids were from companies seeking to liquidate Bon-Ton's assets.

Younkers traces its roots back to 1856. It entered the Lincoln market in 1987 when it bought the Brandeis chain. It was acquired by Bon-Ton in 2005.

In addition to the Younkers in Lincoln, there are two in Omaha and one in Grand Island. Another Bon-Ton brand, Herberger's, has stores in Hastings, Kearney, Norfolk, North Platte and Scottsbluff.

Here are some important things you need to know about the store closing sales:

(BULLET) If you have a store credit or gift card from Younkers, Herberger's or any other Bon-Ton brand, you have until the end of April to use it. Beginning May 1, gift cards and merchandise credits will no longer be accepted.

(BULLET) You also have until the end of the month to return merchandise. After that, no returns will be accepted.

(BULLET) Younkers and other Bon-Ton stores are no longer accepting store coupons or loyalty points, and you can no longer use your store credit card.

(BULLET) Bon-Ton's websites and mobile e-commerce sites will continue to operate, with the same rules as for in-store purchases applying.

For more information about the store closings, go to: bontonrestructuring.com.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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