Reports that Sports Authority is closing a significant portion of its 450 U.S. stores continue to run rampant, further revealing the struggles of the fourth-largest sporting goods retailer in the U.S. However, it’s unclear exactly how many locations will be shuttered or even where the closures will take place.
While Bloomberg initially reported that Sports Authority would file for chapter 11 bankruptcy and close as many as 200 stores, The Denver Post indicated that the number is closer to 140. At least three stores are expected to close in the Denver area, while The Dallas Morning News reports that all 25 of the retailer’s store locations in Texas are set to close.
Sports Authority has not commented on the reported store closings or the potential bankruptcy. With $643 million in debt, the retailer has made efforts to try and avoid bankruptcy, particularly by cutting approximately 100 jobs in January. The majority of these layoffs took place in the company’s Englewood, Colo. headquarters.
The struggles highlight a bigger problem within the sporting goods vertical, that retail stores are facing increasing competition in the apparel and gear space. While Dick’s Sporting Goods continues to lead the category, retailers such as Sports Authority have been primarily affected by Walmart and Amazon, which now sell items once only found in specialty sporting goods stores.
Sports Authority actually partnered with direct-to-consumer competitor Under Armour in September 2015 to enable loyalty program members to earn points via the MapMyFitness app. However, the attempt to tap into consumers’ growing interest in health and fitness hasn’t helped Sports Authority move ahead in the race.