In a firearms market that is increasingly turning to online purchases, another firearms retail giant is reported to be preparing to file for bankruptcy.
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’s filing comes on the heels of a proposed merger between Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s and the bankruptcy of four other outdoor sporting goods retailers.
While Gander’s focused much of its marketing on firearms billing itself as “America’s Firearms Superstore,” significant revenue was generated from their fishing, hunting equipment, and outdoor supplies.
Online retailers are taking market share for every product in Gander Mountain save the guns, and online firearms superstores are poaching the gun sales.
Firearms enthusiasts can buy holsters, grips, scopes, sights, and most other accessories from online outlets like Amazon.com and MidwayUSA.com at a fraction of the price. They can purchase the gun online from online firearms sales giants like BudsGuns.com or SportsmanGuide.com and have it transferred through a local FFL for a small fee.
The trend has been accelerating the last few years putting brick-and-mortar outdoor stores in the same impossible position as the local book retailers, CD shops and more that have gone the way of the do-do bird.
Online pricing and selection are impossible for a local retailer to match and online firearms sales often don’t incur sales tax which gives the online retailer a free discount the local seller cannot meet.
Expect to see more of this as a larger percentage of all kinds of retail moves online – Macy’s, Sears .. and now Gander.