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Local News

Sports Authority will close Joliet store, Romeoville warehouse

Sports Authority files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

The sales floor at Sports Authority in Joliet is seen in November 2014, shortly after its opening. It is one of the stores now slated to close as the company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection .
The sales floor at Sports Authority in Joliet is seen in November 2014, shortly after its opening. It is one of the stores now slated to close as the company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection .

Sports Authority will close a Joliet store and Romeoville warehouse.

The retailer filed Wednesday for bankruptcy, announcing it would close its Chicago-area distribution center in Romeoville and 140 stores.

The list of store closings in the company's bankruptcy filing includes the Joliet store, which opened in late 2014 at 2700 Plainfield Road. Sports Authority occupies much of the space vacated when MyGofer closed. About a year after Sports Authority opened in Joliet, Dick's Sporting Goods opened a store across the street.

Other Sports Authority closings in Illinois include stores in Lombard, Geneva, Schaumburg, Orland Hills and Lake Zurich.

The warehouse in Romeoville employs 66 workers, Mayor John Noak said.

"We have manufacturers and logistics companies now that can't find enough people to fill positions," Noak said. "The positive is there's a demand for those type of positions in our marketplace right now."

Sports Authority leases about 200,000 square feet in the building, he said.

The Englewood, Colorado, company has 463 stores in 41 states and Puerto Rico. The store closings are expected to take up to three months.

Sports Authority stores will remain open and run on normal schedules during the Chapter 11 process. The company's website will continue to function, and the chain plans to honor warranties on items purchased at its stores or online.

"We are taking this action so that we can continue to adapt our business to meet the changing dynamics in the retail industry," CEO Michael Foss said in a written statement. The executive said that it needs fewer stores as consumers are increasingly shifting to online shopping.

The retail industry as a whole has struggled with the consumer move to online shopping, trying to find ways to lure customers to brick-and-mortar stores instead. Macy's Inc. has opened Macy's Backstage, in order to go head to head with discount retailer T.J. Maxx. And J.C. Penney Co. is using store-label offerings to fight against pricing pressures from online rivals and recently launched a new campaign called "Get Your Penney's Worth," which offers certain store-label items for pennies.

In a letter to customers posted on the company's website, Foss said that Sports Authority's long-term plan includes upgrading stores and improving its website.

Foss said that The Sports Authority Inc., which is privately-held, has received interest from third parties that may want to invest in or buy some or all of the business. The company plans to continue evaluating all of its options, he added.

Sports Authority made its Chapter 11 filing in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

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