The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. on Thursday reported its sales increased and losses decreased during the first quarter.

Total sales increased 1 percent to $649.9 million, compared to $640.8 million reported during the first quarter a year ago.

The retailer's operating loss was $7.1 million-an $11.4 million decrease from the $18.5 million loss during the first quarter last year.

"Our first quarter financial results reflect meaningful progress on our strategic initiatives," said CEO Brendan Hoffman.

Enhancements to the company's online business yielded double-digit sales growth, he said.

Bon-Ton will host a conference call at 10 a.m. Friday, and a recording of the call will be available two hours later on the company's website,

The company operates dual headquarters in Springettsbury Township and Milwaukee.