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MILWAUKEE — With sales continuing to decline and losses mounting, retailer Bon-Ton Stores Inc. said Thursday it plans to close at least 40 stores through 2018.

Bon-Ton (BONT), the parent company of Boston Store, Younkers and other department store brands, has lost money for the last six years, and said Thursday it lost $44.9 million in its fiscal third quarter as sales fell 7.6%. Through the first three quarters of 2017, Bon-Ton lost $135.4 million.

Closing 40 stores would represent the shutdown of about a sixth of Bon-Ton’s 260 department stores, furniture galleries and clearance centers in the U.S.

Bon-Ton is an anchor tenant in most major shopping malls in Wisconsin, and like many retailers, has struggled amid competition from online retailers and reduced visits to malls by consumers.