Photographer: Jeremy Allen/Bloomberg Business

Eastern Mountain Sports Said to Be Headed for Bankruptcy Court

  • Chain's parent, Vestis Retail, could file as soon as next week
  • Sport Chalet and Bob's Stores would be part of default

Vestis Retail Group, which operates the Eastern Mountain Sports, Bob’s Stores and Sport Chalet chains, is preparing a bankruptcy filing, extending a run of retail-industry defaults, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The company, owned by private equity firm Versa Capital Management LLC, could file as soon as next week, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the process isn’t public.

The default would follow Sports Authority Inc.’s trip to bankruptcy court in March, underscoring the challenges of the sporting-goods industry. Other well-known retailers, including American Apparel Inc., Quiksilver Inc. and Hancock Fabrics Inc., also have filed for Chapter 11 during the past year. And Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. may be headed for bankruptcy as soon as next week, people familiar with the matter have said.

Versa, which specializes in buying distressed companies, built Vestis into a portfolio of outdoor-oriented retailers. The firm bought the money-losing Bob’s chain in 2008 from TJX Cos., acquiring a retailer known for casual clothing and sports-team apparel. It operates 35 stores, mostly in the Northeast. Versa purchased EMS in 2012, and it added Sport Chalet two years later to expand along the West Coast.

A representative for Philadelphia-based Versa declined to comment.