Could it be the end of the road for Gander Mountain? The massive hunting and outdoor retail chain, also known as “America’s Firearms Supercenter,” is preparing to file for bankruptcy as early as this month, with sources telling Reuters that the St. Paul, Minnesota-based company is working with financial advisory firm Lighthouse Management Group and law firm Fredrikson & Byron PA as it gets ready for the filing.
It’s been a tough few years for Gander Mountain. First, as Reuters points out, they’ve “faced challenges capitalizing on a booming gun market,” with the FBI processing a record 27.5 million background checks for gun buyers in 2016. They’ve also tried to aggressively expand, opening up 60 new stores since 2012 to bring the total number of locations nationwide to almost 160. Dealing with competition from competitors like Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s — with the former agreeing to buy the latter for $5.5 billion last year — has also been difficult.
Reuters says the company has a $30 million loan and “revolving credit lines for $25 million and $500 million. It is not clear how much money in the credit lines Gander Mountain has yet to draw down on.”
If Gander files, it’ll be the fifth outdoor retailer to do in the past year, following in the footsteps of Sports Chalet, Sports Authority, EMS, and Eastern Outfitters.
In response to the bankruptcy rumors, Gander Mountain released a statement which doesn’t confirm anything, but doesn’t exactly deny anything, either. It reads in part:
Like most retailers, we are subject to normal economic cycles, changes in our industry and shifts in consumer demand that require us to adapt our business accordingly. It’s been that way since 1960, when we started out as a catalog company in small-town Wisconsin, and it remains the case today. It is this constant adaptation and desire to offer our customers the best selection, best value and best service that has been our hallmark for generations.
Gander Mountain and its ownership group have undertaken a best-practices approach to review our strategic options specific to positioning the company for long-term success. When we engage in such a review we often seek information and advice from external advisors to inform our decisions. To assist in this process, we have retained Houlihan Lokey as independent advisors and we are confident that the outcome of the review will identify the right go-forward strategy. In the meantime, our Gander Mountain stores and gandermountain.com remain the place to go for all of our customers’ outdoor adventure needs.
More on this story as it develops.