Modell’s Sporting Goods Plans to File Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

At Modell’s Sporting Goods it’s game day, every day. So says the Facebook page banner video, but Chapter 11 bankruptcy day is looming for the nation’s oldest family-owned and operated sporting goods retailer.

The New York Post reported that bankruptcy was imminent after CEO Mitch Modell confirmed the retailer stopped searching for a rescue investor. Modell told FOX Business the filing could happen as early as today.

“The most important thing to me right now is the preservation of as many union jobs as possible” Modell told Fox, while noting the retailer is still talking with potential partners. Modell’s has 2,900 employees.

In a February interview, Modell told The Post that “lousy” local sports teams negatively impacted the sales of jerseys, while also citing the shortened holiday shopping season and the mild winter’s impact on sales of outerwear.

Modell’s retains hope that JackRabbit, the Denver-based sportswear retailer that bought Olympia sports brand last year, will buy it out of Chapter 11, according to the Post.

Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase are Modell’s biggest lenders, with about $50 million in outstanding debt. The Post reported Mitch Modell loaned the business $6.7 million last year to save it from a potential bankruptcy.

In March 2019, Modell’s hired restricting adviser Berkeley Research Group, according to the Wall Street Journal, and added more restructuring advisers in early 2020.

Crain’s New York Business said Modell’s recently hired Tiger Capital Group LLC to liquidate 17 unprofitable stores. Previously nine other stores were closed in a chain that once had more than 150.

Modell’s retail footprint covers New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. The brand was founded in 1889 by Morris A. Modell, and the first Modell’s store was located on Cortlandt Street in lower Manhattan.

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