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Sport Chalet parent Vestis Retail Group files for Chapter 11

Sport Chalet parent Vestis Retail Group files for Chapter 11
A map listing Southern California recreational opportunities is seen outside a Sport Chalet store in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday. (Reed Saxon / Associated Press)

Sport Chalet's parent company, Vestis Retail Group, said Monday that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The news comes two days after Sport Chalet initiated store-closing sales at its 47 locations and stopped all online sales operations.

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Connecticut-based Vestis also owns outdoor clothing and gear chain Eastern Mountain Sports and East Coast family apparel and shoe retailer Bob's Stores.

In a statement, Vestis said it made "significant progress" in stabilizing Eastern Mountain Sports and Sport Chalet since it acquired the businesses in 2012 and 2014, respectively. It said overall performance improved at all three brands.

"As a result, EMS and Bob's are now delivering solid performance but have been burdened by limited financial flexibility due, in part, to the unique competitive pressures facing Sport Chalet," Vestis Chief Executive Mark Walsh said in a statement. "After reviewing a variety of strategic alternatives, we determined that the best path forward is to separate the businesses and confront the challenges that have been hindering our overall progress. "

Vestis said it proposed that Eastern Mountain Sports and Bob's Stores be sold to funds advised by Philadelphia-based Versa Capital Management, a private equity firm that owns Vestis.

The agreement with Versa will be subject to court approval. Vestis said that it expects to complete the sale in mid-summer before the back-to-school season and that it will "efficiently" wind down Sport Chalet.

Sport Chalet has 40 stores in California, mainly in the Southland, according to its website. It also operates five stores in Arizona and two in Las Vegas.

Sport Chalet said it will continue to honor gift cards and loyalty rewards; an internal memo obtained by the Los Angeles Times set a cutoff date of April 29. No closing date for the stores was given -- the memo said "several weeks."

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