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Sports Authority to close 19 stores in California; liquidation sales are underway

Sports Authority to close 19 stores in California; liquidation sales are underway
A woman leaves a Sports Authority store in New York on Wednesday, March 2, 2016. Sports Authority is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. (Richard Drew / AP)

Sports Authority will close 19 stores in California as part of its bankruptcy proceedings.

The Englewood, Colo.-based sporting goods retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Wednesday and said it would close or sell about 140 stores, or nearly one-third of its locations, as well as two distribution centers, one each in Denver and Chicago.

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Sports Authority has 463 stores in 41 states and in Puerto Rico.

Store-closing sales began Friday, Sports Authority spokesman Steven Goldberg said in an email. The sales are expected to last several weeks, although their duration will vary by location, he said.

Though Goldberg did not give specifics on the sale prices, "it's fair to say there are expected to be significant markdowns," he wrote in an email.

Once the sales are completed, the stores will close.

The stores set to close in Los Angeles County are:

* 6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Los Angeles

* 4550 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles

* 1919 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles

* 21301 Victory Blvd., Canoga Park

* 11900 South St., Cerritos

Stores also will close in Bakersfield, Corte Madera, Camarillo, El Cajon, Escondido, La Mesa, Redding, Riverside, San Luis Obispo, Santa Ana, Stockton, Thousand Oaks, Ventura and Walnut Creek.

Sports Authority said filing for bankruptcy protection would allow it to adapt to the "changing dynamics" of the retail industry, especially the growth of e-commerce. With shoppers moving online, the retailer said it didn't need as many brick-and-mortar stores.

The company took on a large amount of debt after it was acquired in 2006 by Los Angeles private equity firm Leonard Green and Partners.

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Matt Powell, a sports industry analyst with the NPD Group, said that debt made it difficult for Sports Authority to invest in its stores and online offerings to capitalize on the robust market for sporting goods merchandise.

For more business news, follow @smasunaga.

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