Gander Mountain preparing to file for bankruptcy this month -sources

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By Lauren Hirsch and Jessica DiNapoli

<span class="articleLocation”>U.S. hunting and fishing chain Gander Mountain
Co is preparing to file for bankruptcy as early as this month,
after an aggressive effort to expand its store base failed to
pull in new customers, according to people familiar with the
matter.

Gander Mountain is working with financial advisory firm
Lighthouse Management Group Inc and law firm Fredrikson & Byron
PA as it gets ready to file for bankruptcy, the people said this
week.

The sources asked not to be identified because the matter is
confidential. Gander Mountain and Lighthouse Management declined
to comment this week, while a spokeswoman for Fredrikson did not
return a request for comment made on Wednesday.

Gander Mountain, which bills itself as America’s firearms
superstore, has faced challenges capitalizing on a booming gun
market. The Federal Bureau of Investigation carried out a record
27.5 million background checks on people seeking to buy guns in
2016, up 19 percent from the year before.

Gander also has stiff competition from rivals like Bass Pro
Shops and Cabela’s Inc, which have been revamping their
stores to attract customers with restaurants and shooting
activities.

Bass Pro agreed last year to buy Cabela’s for $5.5 billion,
potentially putting more pressure on Gander Mountain, though the
deal has to overcome major hurdles to close, including antitrust
concerns.

Based in Saint Paul, Minneapolis, Gander Mountain was taken
private in 2010 by Gratco, a holding company controlled by
Gander Chairman and Chief Executive David Pratt, and Holiday
Stationstores, a gas-station retail operation controlled by
Minnesota’s Erickson family.

Gander Mountain confronts financial trouble after an
aggressive expansion across the United States for a total of
about 160 stores, with nearly 60 new outposts opened or
announced since 2012.

The company has a $30 million loan, and revolving credit
lines for $25 million and $500 million, according to Thomson
Reuters data. It is not clear how much money in the credit lines
Gander Mountain has yet to draw down on.

Gander Mountain would be the fifth outdoor retailer to file
for bankruptcy in the last 12 months, following sports retailers
such as Sports Chalet and Sports Authority Inc, which both
sought court protection from their creditors.

Gander Mountain wanted to address some of its challenges by
exploring a sale last year of its online and catalog boating
business called Overton’s, but was unable to find a buyer at
agreeable terms, according to the sources.



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