Sports Authority Files for Bankruptcy: 450-Store Closure Could Leave 14,500 People Jobless

Outdoor apparel giant Sports Authority has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and the retail chain could close all or most of its 450 stores nationwide as it struggles to pay off a reported $1 billion debt.

Sports Authority is “pursuing a sale of some or all of the business,” a company statement said. “We have received initial expressions of interest from a number of potential buyers, and we are optimistic about the results of the sale process.”

Founded in 1928, the athletic apparel retailer was once the largest sporting goods chain in America.

In the years after its 2006 leveraged buyout by Leonard Green & Partners, Sports Authority saw a slump in sales due to competition from mega retailer Dick’s and online merchants.

In its initial bankruptcy filing last month, Sports Authority was hoping only to close 140 stores while keeping its remaining stores open under its well-known trademark name. Closing all of its 450 stores could leave 14,500 people without jobs.

And Sports Authority may soon join the ranks of a growing number of now-shuttered brick-and-mortar retail giants. Circuit City’s 2008 bankruptcy and complete implosion was followed by Blockbuster in 2010 and Borders in 2011.

Alternatively, some big brands like K-Mart (filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2002) and Radio Shack (filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year) have found some economic success by dumping debt through bankruptcy.

Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @jeromeehudson.


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