Modell’s Sporting Goods has filed for bankruptcy and will shutter all its stores, the company said on Wednesday (March 11).
With a longtime presence in New York and surrounding suburbs, Modell’s has 153 stores mostly located in the northeast region. But it has now become the latest in an array of New York retailers to file for bankruptcy, following luxury retailer Barneys New York and grocer Fairway Market.
Mitchell Modell, the company's chief executive, has been campaigning in interviews as of late for support from vendors and landlords to turn the company's fortunes and finances around. He talked openly in television interviews about discussions with landlords and other possible buyers — discussions which are usually kept secret.
But on Wednesday, Modell’s filed for chapter 11 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Newark, N.J. Modell said on Wednesday that the outcome was not the one he wanted, but he believed that filing for bankruptcy was the best option for the company's creditors to recover.
Modell plans to continue discussions from here on out about possibilities for recapitalization of sales through asset sales or an equity investment.
Burt Flickinger, retail consultant with Strategic Resource Group, called Modell’s the last remaining “big city brand” after years of declining sales for sporting good retailers and bankruptcies for other such chains both regionally and nationally.
Modell’s has had a rough go of things since 2019, when the company hired restructuring officers to help it compete with rivals at larger retailers like Walmart and Amazon. The reporting of that information reportedly prompted suppliers to cut distribution to the company by half. After that, Modell’s had to spend time stabilizing the business and reassuring investors.
Modell’s sales have traditionally risen and fallen with the fates of New York sports teams. The company depended on the success of the Yankees, the Giants, the Nets and the Knicks to help generate sales. Other complications arose: the lack of local championship-caliber teams in recent years slumped sales, and the warm winter temperatures meant less coat and winter-wear sales.