The owner of Bass Pro Shops has provided further insight into the acquisition of Sportsman’s Warehouse, the big retail story reported here earlier this week.
The Great American Outdoors Group, parent company of Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s and White River Marine, added the 112-store chain to its portfolio in a deal valued at around $800 million. Now, speaking to the SGB website, Bass Pro’s Director of Communications, Jack Wlezien, has talked about possible changes resulting from the merger, and the potential impact on vendors and customers.
Wlezien gave little away when asked about the possible reduction in the number of stores, but inferred closures were not in the plan. “This is about serving more people who love the outdoors. Since uniting with Cabela’s three years ago, only three stores have closed, while we have opened eight new locations,” he said.
“Today, the combined company collectively employs more people than Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s did independently prior to coming together. We feel that joining with Sportsman’s Warehouse will bring about further growth and provide increased opportunities.” In terms of overall change, Wlezien repeated the press release promise that Sportsman’s Warehouse customers can ‘expect all of what they love now, plus greatly expanded offerings’
He told SGB: “We are very respectful of the leadership and passionate team members at Sportsman’s Warehouse, and the local and regional knowledge they possess. We plan to continue that legacy of special localised expertise and service.” With regard to vendors, Wlezien said: “We hope and believe this will impact our vendors in a very positive way. We have always made bringing trusted premium brands to our customers a top priority. We have built our business by working closely with our vendors over a period of many years now. We plan to continue to build upon these relationships to forge even stronger alliances.”
Bass Pro does not anticipate any anti-trust (monopoly) issues over the transaction, which is expected to close in the second half of 2021.“The outdoor market is extremely fragmented and competitive, especially with the dramatic increase in online shopping,” said Wlezien. “Collectively, our combined new company will represent a very small part of the overall outdoor industry.”