MILWAUKEE -- A sporting goods chain that has already filed for bankruptcy reorganization may be closing more stores than initially expected.
Many of Gander Mountain’s 160 stores appear destined for closing, and the guns, camping gear and other inventory in the stores will be liquidated, under a plan filed in bankruptcy court.
When the chain, based in St. Paul, Minn., filed for bankruptcy in March, it said it would shut 32 stores in 11 states over the next several weeks. The stores employed 1,280 full time and part-time workers. Now those numbers could go higher.
Camping World Holdings, which operates a network of stores catering to recreational vehicle owners, said Monday that it has won a bankruptcy auction of Gander Mountain’s assets.
The deal requires Camping World to assume the leases on just 17 Gander Mountain stores, and gives it the right to assign others.
The Wall Street Journal quoted Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis as saying that at least half of the existing Gander Mountain stores won’t survive.
Based in St. Paul, Minn., Gander Mountain started in Kenosha County in 1960 as a catalog retailer. The firm went through bankruptcy in the 1980s and in 1996, and filed again for in March, seeking protection from creditors while it reorganized its financial affairs.
The company has had fierce competition from rivals such as Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s.
In an announcement Monday, Camping World said it had bid nearly $38 million for the assets of Gander Mountain and its boating business, Overton’s.
A group of liquidators, meanwhile, won the rights to sell off the inventory in Gander Mountain’s stores.
The winning auction bids are subject to approval by the bankruptcy court in Minnesota, which will hold a hearing on the sale on Wednesday.
In his statement, Lemonis said the deal would allow Camping World to “refine the inventory selection” at the Gander Mountain locations and “select only those stores which are profitable or we believe have a clear path to profitability.”
Camping World will be able to offer its products and services at the Gander Mountain locations. Besides its retail stores, Camping World operates the Good Sam Club, which provides breakdown insurance, roadside assistance and other services to RV owners.
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