Gander Mountain seeks buyer, bankruptcy protection

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Outdoor sports retailer Gander Mountain filed for bankruptcy protection last week and announced plans to close 32 stores in order to preserve its "going concern" value until it can find a buyer.

Gander Mountain's sole Corridor store at 2140 Edgewood Road SW in Cedar Rapids is not on the list slated for closing, and will instead relocate this spring to a larger location in the new Northtowne Market development on Blairs Ferry Road NE.

Texas is expected to lose the largest number of stores, a total of 10. No Iowa stores are on the list.

In a press release, Gander Mountain cited "challenging traffic patterns and shifts in consumer demand resulting from increased direct-to-customer sales by key vendors and accelerated growth of e-commerce." It said that despite aggressive actions to improve the efficiency of its retail operations and support functions, the underlying financial impact from underperforming stores and unproductive excess inventory has hampered efforts to create a "sustainable path forward."

A strategic review of Gander Mountain's operations indicated that a more narrowly-focused and lower cost operating model is needed to position the company for profitable growth, and that the best path forward is to sell the company on a going-concern basis.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy provides the filer with protection from most creditors while it works out a financial plan of reorganization that will maximize payments of its debts. Gander Mountain said Wells Fargo has agreed to underwrite debtor-in-possession financing that is expected to provide enough financial liquidity to continue operations and minimize disruptions during the reorganization. The bankruptcy was filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Minnesota.

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