Gander Mountain, the outdoor retailer based in St. Paul, is said to be preparing for bankruptcy, according to sources cited by the Reuters news agency.
No specifics have been confirmed. Company spokesman Jess Myers said Saturday that the company had no statement to offer. “They’ve taken a vow of silence,” he said.
The privately held company is owned by David Pratt and the Erickson family, which also owns Holiday Station stores. Jay Tibbets has been president since November, when Derek Siddons left the company. Siddons, who started with Gander Mountain as a store manager in 2009, had a prodigious rise to the executive team, being appointed president in 2015. Siddons said Saturday that he did not want to comment on the rumored bankruptcy.
The retailer, known as America’s firearms superstore, operates 160 stores in 27 states, including several that opened in 2016 in Pennsylvania, Colorado and Texas. More than 50 stores opened in the last five years.
Outdoor/sporting goods retailers have struggled of late. Cabela’s is being acquired by Bass Pro Shops. Eastern Outfitters, owned by Eastern Mountain Sports, filed for bankruptcy last week. Sports Authority declared bankruptcy and closed 300 stores last year, including a newly opened store on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis.
Last year Gander Mountain attempted to calm its financial headwinds by exploring a sale of Overton’s, its online and catalog boating business, but no buyer was found. According to Reuters, the company has a $30 million loan and revolving credit lines totaling $525 million, but it was not clear from sources how much of the credit line is being used.
The Gander Mountain website is currently advertising 15 percent off all regular-priced items in store and online, an unusual promotion for the sporting goods retailer.