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3 Minn. stores to close as Gander Mountain files for bankruptcy

ST. PAUL -- Gander Mountain, one of the nation's largest outdoor outfitters, has filed for bankruptcy.

The privately held St. Paul-based retailer announced Friday that it has voluntarily filed for federal Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to help sell it and its subsidiaries, including Overton's, an online boating retailer.

The company said three of its Minnesota stores -- in Woodbury, Rogers and Mankato -- will close. These are part of 32 underperforming retail locations that will begin a shutdown process in the next several weeks, the company said in a news release. A spokesman provided the closure list, which includes two Wisconsin stores, Eau Claire and Germantown.

Gander is among a number of traditional brick-and-mortar retailers that have found themselves in dire straits as they've struggled to adapt to the prevalence of online shopping.

"Like many retailers, Gander Mountain experienced challenging traffic patterns and shifts in consumer demand resulting from increased direct-to-customer sales by key vendors and accelerated growth of e-commerce," the company said. "Despite aggressive actions to improve the efficiency of the company’s retail operations and support functions, the underlying financial impact from underperforming stores and unproductive, excess inventory hampered efforts to create a sustainable path forward."

Gander said it wants to be sold by May 15.

The company said it will conduct "normal business operations" for the time being, and employees will continue to be paid. Gander Mountain, the parent company of marine and watersports retailer Overton’s, has locations in 26 states, including 12 stores in Minnesota, 13 in Wisconsin and one in North Dakota.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service