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Report: Owner of EMS and Sport Chalet to file for bankruptcy

Published April 6, 2016

MERIDEN, Conn. (BRAIN) — The owner of sporting goods chains Eastern Mountain Sports and Sport Chalet is preparing to file for bankruptcy, according to a report from Bloomberg News.

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Citing an anonymous source familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reported Tuesday that Vestis Retail Group, owned by Versa Capital Management LLC, could file as soon as next week.

Vestis, which also owns the Bob's Stores chain of apparel and work wear stores, acquired Sport Chalet in 2014. At the time of the deal, Vestis said that the three chains combined would create one of the largest sporting goods retailers in the U.S., with a total of 150 stores.

EMS has historically carried such bike brands as Kona, Felt, Marin, Orbea, Masi, Bianchi and Jamis at select stores, but its website currently lists Strider as its only bike brand. It also sells components, apparel and accessories from brands including Shimano, SRAM, Pearl Izumi, Bell, Giro, Louis Garneau, Thule, Blackburn, Topeak and Kryptonite.

Sport Chalet carries Diamondback and Haro and P&A from brands including Bell, Giro, Nutcase, Pearl Izumi, Dakine, Fox, Topeak, CatEye and Serfas. Its stores also provide bicycle service and car rack installation.

A spokesman for Versa Capital told BRAIN on Wednesday that the company had no comment on reports of a pending bankruptcy filing. However, Vestis released the following statement: “Vestis continually looks for opportunities to position its stores for long-term growth and success and, as such, is evaluating a number of strategies to strengthen the business. We will share additional updates as and when decisions are made. Meanwhile, we continue to focus on executing our long-term strategic plan, and all our stores — Eastern Mountain Sports, Bob’s Stores and Sport Chalet — continue to operate as usual, offering our customers the top outdoor, apparel and footwear fashions from their favorite brands.”

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