On Saturday 16, Sport Chalet, a sporting good chains, announced they’re going out of business sales. The chain will close its 47 stores and its online sales operation. The chain hasn’t set a closing date.

According to its website, Sport Chalet operates 40 stores in California, five in Arizona and two in Las Vegas. In March 30, 2014, the chain counted with 1,200 full-time workers and 1,600 part-timers, but they didn’t say how many employees are about to lose their jobs.

Sport Chalet announced that it will close all of its 47 stores and online sales for good once its merchandise is all cleared out. Credit: Safetyincentives.com

On the website, the chain states that they will remain open until the merchandise is cleared out. According to an internal memo obtained by The Times, they will also continue to honor their gift cards and loyalty rewards but only until April 29, the cutoff date.

“We’re closing. Thank you for 57 great years,” Sport Chalet told customers in an email message.

Sport Chalet has been financially struggling for years

In response to the rumors that have been circulating about Sport Chalet filing for bankruptcy protection and that the chain was about to shut down, Vestis representatives only said that the company was considering its options.

A regular Sport Chalet customer of Los Angeles who works downtown, Marlon Tolbert, said that the stores will be missed and, even though he didn’t buy anything that day, he’s a big sport fan and he would like to go and look around.

“I’m kind of bummed. I had no idea. Now where am I going to go? I’m not a big fan of other sporting goods stores,” Cindy Vasquez of La Cañada Flintridge, said about the closure.

Sport Chalet and Eastern Mountain Sports were about to be liquidated when Vestis bought them back in 2014, according to Vestis Chief Executive Mark Walsh, in the internal memo. Eastern Mountain Sports regained its footing, but Sport Chalet couldn’t in part because of unique competitive pressures.

When Vestis bought Sport Chalet –for $17 million – the chain had more than $52 million in debt. For years, it has been struggling due to growing competition from online retailers, discounters and the likes of Target Corp., whose stores carry the kind of workout merchandise and sports equipment that gets the attention of casual enthusiast.

In 1959, German immigrants Norbert and Irene Olberz bought a tiny La Cañada Flintridge ski shop, that was the beginning of Sport Chalet. The company opened in 1992, and in 2014, Vestis, a Connecticut company, bought the chain.

Source: LA Times