As Bass Pro and Cabela’s work to complete their industry-shaking merger, another popular outdoor retailer is on the rocks. Business journals are reporting that Gander Mountain is preparing to file for bankruptcy, with the company expected to start the process as early as this month.
Several news agencies have reportedly reached out to Gander Mountain, all receiving the same response: “No comment.” Minneapolis’s Star Tribune reached out Saturday and spoke to Gander Mountain spokesman Jess Myers, who it quoted as saying, “They’ve [Gander Mountain] taken a vow of silence.”
Gander Mountain is privately owned and operates roughly 160 stores across 27 states, nearly 60 of which opened in the last five years as part of its plans for “aggressive expansion,” according to Reuters. Since becoming privately owned in 2010, Gander has frequently promoted itself as “the nation’s largest and fastest-growing retail network of specialty outdoor stores for hunting, fishing, camping, shooting, and outdoor lifestyle products and services.”
No definitive reason has been given for the company’s looming bankruptcy, but SGB Media points to the expansion efforts and a heavy debt load as the causes, along with the difficulties that all active-lifestyle retailers are facing.
SGB also reported that Gander is considering Chapter 11, which would allow it a limited time to reorganize before it must face its creditors.
The FBI reported record background checks for firearm sales in 2016, with 27,538,673 checks performed. That’s should have been great news for “America’s Firearms Superstore,” but the sales don’t seem to have helped its financial woes. Gander Mountain recently took the unusual step of offering 15 percent off all the regularly priced items in its stores and online, including ammo and firearms.
If Gander Mountain does file for Chapter 11, it will be the third time in the company’s history it has done so—first in 1984, then again in 1996. It will also be the fifth outdoor retailer to file for bankruptcy in the last year, including Sports Authority, EMS, Eastern Outfitters, and Sports Chalet.