Eastern Outfitters, the parent of discount chain Bob's Stores and outdoor retailer Eastern Mountain Sports, filed for bankruptcy protection on Sunday, the latest U.S. retailer to do so amid increased competitive pressure facing the sector. British sportswear retailer Sports Direct International has engaged in extensive talks with Eastern Outfitters to become a stalking-horse bidder in a bankruptcy auction, the Chapter 11 filing showed. Eastern Outfitters listed assets and liabilities in the range of $100 million to $500 million, according to court documents filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.
Total Retail's Take: While the retail industry as a whole has faced challenges as of late, perhaps no vertical has been under more pressure than sporting goods. Sports Authority and Sport Chalet both went out of business last year, and now the parent company of Eastern Mountain Sports is filing for bankruptcy. The beneficiary of this upheaval in the vertical appears to be Dick's Sporting Goods, which reported net sales grew 10.2 percent in its most recent fiscal quarter (including a 5.5 percent increase in same-store sales). Looking to continue to grow market share, Dick's acquired The Sports Authority's intellectual property assets and the right to acquire 31 store leases.