Camping World to Keep at Least 70 Gander Mountain Stores Open
While it was widely reported over the weekend that outdoor goods retail chain Gander Mountain would be closing all of its 126 stores, the chain’s new owner, Camping World Holdings, said it will keep at least 70 of the chain’s stores open. Camping World won a bankruptcy auction of Gander Mountain’s assets — including the company’s intellectual property, trademarks and leases — and its CEO, Marcus Lemonis, has been reassuring Gander Mountain employees and customers on his Twitter account that he plans to stand by his pledge to keep many of the brand’s stores open.
However, there’s some confusion among consumers. The homepage of Gander Mountain’s website is currently promoting store liquidation sales. The ad says that after 57 years, all locations will be going out of business and that “everything must go.”
“We want to help the liquidators sell their inventory,” Lemonis said. “We don’t want to be disruptive to that, but we also don’t want employees thinking that they’re all losing their jobs. That’s why I’ve been so active. I don’t want to disrupt what the liquidators are trying to do, but I’m going to protect my people at all costs. No matter what.”
Total Retail’s Take: Lemonis is bringing some much-needed good news to the sporting goods retail sector. The sector has been in particular peril over the last few years, with e-commerce competitors often offering consumers more options for lower prices. There have been at least 10 bankruptcies among sporting goods chains (in addition to Gander Mountain’s filing) with over $10 million in liabilities in the last two years, including Sports Authority, once the second biggest company in the category. Golfsmith filed for bankruptcy protection in September, and Sport Chalet, a Southern California-based chain, closed in 2016 after being in business for 57 years.