Camping World Holdings—the nation’s largest RV dealer—was the winning bidder for Gander Mountain last week in bankruptcy proceedings. The winning bid was roughly $390 million, according to Reuters, although a BusinessWire press release indicates it was tenfold less at roughly $38 million.
Early details on the agreement’s impact on stores are equally conflicting. Reuters reported 17 of the 126 locations will remain open, with at least 100 of the store leases auctioned at a later date. The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer’s subsequent story indicates more than 70 of the retail outlets could avoid closure, including one in the publication’s namesake city.
Gander Mountain, which bills itself as “America’s Firearm Superstore,” has a history of financial challenges throughout its 57-year history, although it appears the company name will once again survive this latest setback. The company website confirms liquidation of all stock, and 10 to 20 percent was marked off select merchandise in a North Carolina store visited this week.
Overtons, a boating business, and all of Gander’s intellectual property, also go to Camping World as part of the deal. The latter firm has 120 RV centers across America and its initial public offering last fall raised $251 million.
“Camping World’s plan is to immediately right size the inventory and operate only in retail locations with occupancy costs that we believe support profitable operations, with an extreme focus on corporate overhead and expenses, consistent with our other operating segments,” said Brent Moody, chief operating officer of Camping World.
“The Gander Mountain and Overton customer and their affinity to the outdoor lifestyle are the perfect complement to our Camping World business,” Marcus Lemonis, Chairman and CEO of Camping World, said. “The structure of our deal provides much flexibility and will not only allow us to refine the inventory selection and select only those stores which are profitable or we believe have a clear path to profitability, but will also allow us to immediately offer our comprehensive portfolio of services, protection plans, products and resources to the existing Gander Mountain and Overton customer base and in stores in which we elect to operate. While we are obligated to assume a minimum of seventeen leases, our designation rights will allow us to operate stores and retain employees at a number to maximize profitability.”