Why Gander Mountain Is the Latest Sporting Goods Store to Bite the Dust

The list of retailers surviving through retail’s turbulence is dwindling.

Outdoor goods firm Gander Mountain Co. became the latest casualty, filing for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Minnesota on Friday.

The St. Paul, Minn.-based company said it will begin the process of shuttering 32 underperforming retail locations in 11 states over the next several weeks.

In the face of dismal store traffic, shifts in consumer demand and rapid growth in e-commerce competition, Gander’s management said they determined that a short sale was the only viable solution for the firm.

Despite aggressive actions to improve the efficiency of the company’s retail operations and support functions, the underlying financial impact from underperforming stores and unproductive, excess inventory hampered efforts to create a sustainable path forward,” the company said in a statement.

Citing similar challenges, several big-name brands and retailers have sought bankruptcy protection over the past two years. American Apparel, Aéropostale Inc., BCBG Maz Azria, and Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. are among them.

But sporting goods firm have seemed particularly susceptible to retail’s current stressors. Once a leading sporting goods seller, The Sports Authority left its mark on the industry when it went belly up last year. Vestis-owned sporting goods trio Sport Chalet, Eastern Mountain Sports and Bob’s Stores also filed Chapter 11 last year, joining peer City Sports, which filed in 2015.

Dallas-based running and fitness chain Luke’s Locker went bankrupt in January, and Michigan-based sporting goods seller MC Sports added its names to the bankruptcy court docket in February.

Gander Mountain — which currently has 162 stores in 27 states — said it is in active talks with parties interested in a going-concern sale and expects to solicit bids prior to an auction to be held in late April.

In its bankruptcy filing, Gander Mountain said its assets — valued at between $500 million and $1 billion — are equal to its liabilities.


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