Eastern Outfitters, parent company of the Eastern Mountain Sports and Bob’s Stores chains, has filed for Chapter 11 protection.
The Wall Street Journal reported the company is looking for a buyer. SportsDirect.com, Ltd., one of its creditors, is the proposed opening bidder at the bankruptcy auction.
Eastern Mountain Sports has about 40 stores and sells outdoor and camping gear, while Bob’s Stores has more than 30 apparel and footwear stores.
Eastern Outfitters, formerly known as Vestis Retail Group, sought bankruptcy protection last April when it owned Sports Chalet. The company shuttered all 47 of its Sport Chalet locations and its ecommerce site.
The company was then reorganized around Eastern Mountain and Bob’s Stores. Eastern Outfitters joins other major retailers like Wet Seal, Aeropostale, Golfsmith International, American Apparel, Sports Authority and The Limited that have either closed stores and/or filed for bankruptcy.
MCM Musings: I can honestly say I don’t know what to make of the tsunami sweeping through retail, from store closings and bankruptcies to CEOs stepping down and stepping up in major retail brands. Perhaps the shakeout was inevitable given the large number of companies and the speed at which consumer behavior is evolving. Can we blame Amazon? Can we blame ecommerce? This much disruption is clearly due to a major shift in consumer behavior. But what can be done to save the brick-and-mortar store? How can chains get creative to drive more people – especially younger shoppers – back into the malls?