Sports Authority Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

We’ve been reporting on the money troubles Sports Authority has been having for a few months now. It seems like they’ve finally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

When I was growing up, Sports Authority was one of the greatest places on earth. You could try on shoes without someone selling you cleaner or insoles, they got ALL the Jordan releases (and Zoom 95, and Air More, and Answers, and pretty much all heat), and they had an indoor court to try them out on. Wow — a sneakerhead/baller’s Disney World.

The last few years have not been kind. Already closing stores and restructuring debt, the product has dried up and the stores are disappearing, no doubt thanks to online retail, exclusive releases, the rise of Foot Locker brands, and specialized boutiques. Today, we got an email detailing the official bankruptcy filing. It reads as follows:

A message from our CEO

March 2, 2016

Dear Sports Authority Customers,

During the past several months, we have been working very hard to adapt our business to better meet the needs of our customers. We are committed to evolving as a company so we are able to continue to offer the best brands at great values – both in our stores and on our website,sportsauthority.com

With these goals in mind, we have decided to utilize the Chapter 11 process to implement a financial and operational restructuring that we believe is necessary to help us become an even better place for our customers to shop for sporting goods.

Due to the changing retail environment, we have a long-term plan to streamline and strengthen our business so we can continue to make necessary investments in our operations, including upgrading our in store experience and enhancing our website. As part of that plan, we have identified approximately 140 stores that we intend to close or sell in the coming months. This was a tough decision to make, but we believe it was a necessary step in our plan to make Sports Authority an even better partner for our customers. The store closings will occur over the next three months.

While no stores are being shut immediately, if the store where you regularly shop is ultimately closed, you can use the Store Locator on our website to find the nearest Sports Authority location. In addition, you always can find all of our brands at the same great values online at sportsauthority.com

Most importantly, I want to emphasize that our customers should not be affected by this restructuring process.

We do not expect there to be any impact on gift card balances or your ability to use gift cards at our stores or online at this time.In addition, there should be no changes to our return/exchange policies at our go-forward stores or our customer loyalty program, The League.If you have a warranty on a product you bought at Sports Authority, it is still in effect for the same period of time.Finally, this should have no impact on the way you use your Sports Authority credit card or pay your bill.

In short, we are continuing to operate our stores and website, and we remain fully committed to delivering value and great brands wherever you shop at Sports Authority.

If you have any questions, or would like more information about the Chapter 11 case, including access to Court documents, please visitwww.kccllc.net/sportsauthority or call the information line at:

Toll Free (USA and Canada): 866-967-0490

International Callers: 310-751-2690

Thank you for your continued support!

Sincerely,

Michael Foss

Chief Executive Officer

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6 Comments

  1. “greatest places on earth”. Hmm, not sure what store you went to but the SportsMart/Sports Authority I remember was filled with other stores overstock and rarely had first run releases. Later years, the stores were a mess and inventory and service was spotty. I am not surprised by this news at all. RIP SA you will not be missed.

    1. RS, 90’s kid here. You’re right, they have sucked for 10+ years. But back then? Greatness.

  2. I do agree with the part where you can try any shoe you see on the shelf, that I like,

    And no one would bother you while doing so, except for some occasional, “Sir do you need any help”,

    Didn’t have that inside court though, now that would have made it cooler,

    Sad that another business goes bye bye, I guess it’s really hard to maintain multiple locations.

  3. Not just these guys alone. Macy’s, kohl’s, jc penny’s are all closing stores little by little. Everthing is cheaper online so, not many people go to stores. This sucks because, a lot of people will lose their jobs.

    1. If I were to point out a reason to why retail has dipped (apart from average income and hardships), it’s not so much of online pricing, but shopping habits. It’s so much easier to make decisions at home. People are less prone to buying things on impulse because they have the convenience to really investigate products (if they’re smart). Also, factoring stock and shipping (sometimes free online) vs. the gas/time taken to go to the store physically is weighing more favorably. As a consumer I walk into most stores knowing what I want, and essentially using the store to determine fit or poke at clearance (which sometimes isn’t online).

      Macy’s in particular is actually actually very competitive in their pricing, but they’re losing their allure. Most non-flagships are looking simply like TJ/Ross/Marshalls but with larger selection. Believe the idea was to cater to the low-income demographic amid the fall of the economy — and that actually helped them stay alive; but now they’re not so “high end” feeling anymore to draw interest. Most customers simply hold out and/or strategize their purchases predicting sale days (literally every weekend or so). But of course on the other side of the spectrum, the more stiff-priced Nordstrom has kinda suffered, too.

      Another reason I’d consider is the trends of fashion have increasingly shifted towards/across smaller brands. People want vanity, a lot of brands are acting direct-to-consumer. Higher end has its inevitable appeal and the online presence makes it more exposed. Snob in me kinda hates the idea of running into someone with the same exact shirt as me. I kinda stay away from things that say “oh, he just got that from H&M over there” when I wear them. That kinda spells out the appeal of limited collabos.

      But anyway, I think Sports Authority in particular fell because it didn’t cater so well to specialties since by nature they are to offer a bit of everything. It’s all mid/low level stuff (I’m surprised to hear they carried J’s at some point), sometimes not even priced competitively. Most people would rather go to dedicated storefronts for their items where there’s better selection: HOH for bball, actual bike shops for bikes, Niketown straight up for Nike anything, etc.

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