Modell’s Sporting Goods, the iconic Northeast U.S. sporting goods retailer whose ubiquitous “Gotta Go to Mo’s” jingle has been part of the retail landscape from Washington D.C. to Boston, with a stop at its New York City headquarters in between, may be the next acquisition target for run specialty retailer JackRabbit Sports.
The financially troubled 131-year-old family-owned retailer has reportedly stopped shopping for a white-knight investor to help renegotiate its 140 leases across nine states and the District of Columbia, and is likewise giving up on getting better terms from its vendors, CEO Mitch Modell confirmed last week. Modell indicated the company may be preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as soon this week.
But, according to a report in the New York Post, which cited a source with knowledge of the situation, as talks to avoid bankruptcy hit a wall Modell’s is hoping that JackRabbit, which took a huge leap late last year when it bought Maine-based Olympia Sports brand last year, will buy it out of Chapter 11.
Modell declined to confirm whether the company is in discussions with JackRabbit.
“A lot of companies are taking a look at us,” he said.
Modell has repeatedly blamed the retailer’s dire financial situation on what he called “lousy” local sports teams – notably the New York Giants and Jets – that have depressed jersey sales, as well as a shorter holiday selling season and the warm winter, which hit jacket, boot and glove sales.
Modell’s, which has 2900 employees, had requested its 19 building and mall owners “dig deeper” and lower rents or at least defer them to help the retailer avoid a bankruptcy. That effort apparently proved fruitless and forced Modell to consider the next step of Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.