RETAIL: Sports Authority throws in the towel – Press-Enterprise

RETAIL: Sports Authority throws in the towel

 In a hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware, an attorney for Englewood, Colorado-based the Sports Authority sporting goods chainsaid the company would close all of its stores.

When struggling retailer Sports Authority filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month in the face of more than $1 billion in debt, the company indicated that it had two options going forward.

One of those was to shed underperforming stores and emerge from bankruptcy as an intact, but pared-down company. The other was to sell everything and cease operating.

On Tuesday, the company appeared to choose the latter.

In a hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware, an attorney for the Englewood, Colorado-based sporting goods chain indicated that the only option for the company was to close all of its stores.

“It has become apparent that the debtors will not reorganize under a plan but instead will pursue a sale,” said the attorney, Robert Klyman.

The abrupt abandonment of a reorganization plan follows Sports Authority’s announcement in March that it would close 140 of its 464 stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico to help pay off $1.1 billion in debt.

Sports Authority’s planned closures come on the heels of last week’s announcement that Sport Chalet will be closing all 47 of its stores in California, Nevada and Arizona. That chain is based in La Cañada Flintridge.

Jose Urrutia, 44, of Moreno Valley, was in the shoe section of the Sports Authority store on Tyler Street in Riverside Wednesday, looking for bargains.

The store already had been designated for closure, and aisles that once featured baseball, cycling, fitness, outdoors and camping equipment had nearly empty shelves with only scattered items.

One rear corner of the store was yellow-taped off to customer traffic.

But the store’s shoe and clothing areas still looked well-stocked on Wednesday and midday shoppers picked through the items.

“I bought these on Sunday,” Urrutia said, pointing to his new, blue pair of Under Armour athletic shoes. “I’m wearing them today.”

Urrutia said he had been comparison shopping with also-closing Sport Chalet. One of those stores, also on Tyler Street in Riverside, is a short distance from the Sports Authority store Urrutia was in.

He said he had found better bargains at the Sports Authority store. He had an armload of shorts and shirts with him on Wednesday.

“What can you do?” he asked about the news that both chains were closing. “You can go either Big 5 or Dick’s….why did both go at the same time?”