After more than five decades in service, Sport Chalet has announced the closure of all its stores in the next several weeks.

The Southern California-based sporting goods company owns 47 stores in about 50 locations in California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona. The company issued an online statement saying that its stores have begun the process of closing on April 16, but it offered no explanation.

The company stopped selling merchandise online but its retail stores will remain open for several weeks in order for customers to use their rewards and gift cards. This will also allow for the company to offer great sales of remaining goods.

"Thank you for your loyalty over the years. We hope to see you at our store closing sales," the company said.

The customers are advised to return rental equipment and get their gears that had been left for repair by April 29. That would also be the last day for them to use their gift cards.

For those who can't use their gift cards by the deadline, they could use them in Sport Chalet's sister stores Eastern Mountain Sports and Bob's Stores until July 29.

Facing Bankruptcy Issues

Sport Chalet was founded in 1959 by German immigrants Norbert and Irene Olberz. The couple bought a tiny ski shop in La Cañada, Flintridge and built it into a publicly traded company.

The company grew into a famous chain over the years but in 2014, Vestis Retail Group from Connecticut bought Sport Chalet for $17 million. Rumors had circulated for weeks that Vestis or Sport Chalet might file for bankruptcy protection and the retail stores would be shut down. Vestis said that it is considering every option regarding the future of Sport Chalet and the other sporting retailers the company owns.

Vestis CEO Mark Walsh said that Sport Chalet suffered from competitive pressures and never made a full recovery. The company bought Sport Chalet when it was on the brink of closing.

Since the emergence of online competitors like Amazon and big-chain discounters like Wal-Mart, Sport Chalet has been suffering from a drop in sales. It was in 2007 when the company made a notably high profit but after that, its sales just dropped dramatically. When it was bought by Vestis, the company had a reported $52 million debt.

Other Stores With The Same Fate

Sport Chalet is just one example of the many other retail stores who had to quit the business because of great pressure from the changing marketplace. In the last couple of years, online shopping has boomed as it offers customers the convenience of buying items wherever and whenever they want.

Other companies like RadioShack have filed for bankruptcy and closed all of their stores. The reason is the same with what has driven the closure of Sport Chalet: they couldn't keep up with big stores like Best Buy and Wal-Mart.

If companies won't go with the flow of modern-day shopping or offer affordable prices on their goods, they could face the same fate these companies suffered.

Photo: Dave Herholz | Flickr

ⓒ 2021 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.