Home US Sporting goods chain operating in seven states raises fears of closures after filing for bankruptcy

Sporting goods chain operating in seven states raises fears of closures after filing for bankruptcy

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Bob's Stores and sister retailer Eastern Mountain Sports together closed ten stores in June. This is a previous closure at 499 Sunrise Highway in Patchogue, New York in 2019.

Two sister chains selling sporting goods have filed for bankruptcy as retailers continue to struggle.

Bob’s Stores, which sells sports and casual clothing, and outdoor retailer Eastern Mountain Sports together have 50 stores across the northeastern United States.

In May, the retailers announced plans to lay off 150 employees at their headquarters in Meriden, Connecticut, in addition to closing ten stores. The headquarters is part of a 240,000-square-meter food warehouse with 50 loading docks.

But that wasn’t enough to balance the books, and on Friday they filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Now it is feared that more stores will close.

Until the recent closures, there were 12 Bob’s and Eastern Mountain stores in Connecticut, plus more in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Vermont.

Traditional retailers are struggling overall, but those selling sporting goods have been hit the hardest. The national chain Dick’s Sporting Goods has been gaining share.

Bob’s Stores and sister retailer Eastern Mountain Sports together closed ten stores in June. This is a previous closure at 499 Sunrise Highway in Patchogue, New York in 2019.

The two chains have a long history in Connecticut, although they have stores in other states.

The two chains have a long history in Connecticut, although they have stores in other states.

Dave Barton, CEO of both brands, told the bankruptcy court that the company owes PNC Bank $30 million, plus another $27 million in unpaid rent and other debts.

Both chains have a long history in Connecticut.

Bob’s, which had 27 of 50 stores before closing, is named after founder Bob Lapidus, who opened the first store in 1954 in Middletown, Connecticut.

“Bob’s and EMS know how to run good, profitable, productive stores that offer great merchandise at great value,” said Burt Flickinger III, CEO of retail consulting firm Strategic Resource Group. CT Insider.

“But they face an accelerating retail ice age.”

The closures, which occurred in early June, included two Bob’s stores in Connecticut, one in Hamden and one in Southington.

The company did not return to the Hamden Mart shopping center until August last year, after first closing in December 2020.

Meanwhile, the store at RK Queen Plaza in Southington will close less than eight months after opening on October 27, 2023.

Eastern Mountain stores that will close include those in Albany, New York, Burlington and Hyannis in Massachusetts, Deptford, New Jersey, and Freeport in Maine.

Barton explained the job losses in a May 21 letter to state officials.

‘We would like to have notified you in more detail of this action, but were unable to do so because the bank informed us last week that it will refuse to fund employee health insurance premiums, 401k administration, payroll and other critical financial obligations. which, if not paid, will likely prevent us from operating the business in the future,” he wrote.

“To date, they remain steadfast in their position despite our continued efforts to convince them otherwise.”

Bob’s and Eastern Mountain aren’t the only ones that will struggle financially in 2024. Many smaller chains, already recovering from the pandemic, have faced higher business costs, particularly labor.

Bob's Stores has recently opened outlets but is now closing them.

Bob’s Stores recently opened outlets but is now closing them

There have been almost 2,600 store closures so far in 2024.

In recent weeks, Walmart has closed three more underperforming locations, while Rite Aid is closing another 27 pharmacies.

Dollar stores have also been hit hard, with 99 Cents Only announcing in April that it would close its 371 locations in California, Texas, Arizona and Nevada.

Likewise, 1,000 Family Dollars and Dollar Trees will close permanently in the coming years.

And last week it emerged that an iconic Texas store beloved by Drake abruptly closed after two decades

Pinto Ranch, a popular Texas retailer that sells stylish cowboy hats and boots, It has been frequented by rapper Drake and singer and actress Letoya Luckett. It also has locations in Dallas and Houston’s George Bush Airport, both of which are also closed.

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