It’s the end of an era for Canfield’s Sporting Goods. The Omaha, Nebraska-based outdoor sporting goods store is closing its doors for good, after 71 years in business. The company blamed challenging economic times and increased online competition as two big reasons for the closure.
Canfield’s Sporting Goods will start its liquidation sale on Friday, December 8. The owners expect the going-out-of-business sale to end and for the store to permanently close at the end of January or February.
Canfield’s Sporting Goods Closing: Retail Woes & Warm Winters Cited as Reasons
After 71 years, Canfield’s Sporting Goods is shuttering its doors for good. Scott Marble, president of Canfield’s, made the announcement on the company’s website.
“Unfortunately, times change. The challenge of running a profitable business during uncertain economic times, warm winters, and competition from online shopping since I took ownership has caught up with us.”
To that end, Canfield’s will start its liquidation sale on Friday, December 8 at 9:00 a.m. Marble expects Canfield’s to close at the end of January.
Canfield’s was founded by LeRoy Canfield in 1946 as an Army surplus, camping, hunting, and fishing store. Over the years, it evolved and added gear for biking, hiking, running, and paddle sports.
Marble worked at Canfield’s for 10 years before taking over in 2014. Canfield’s has been plagued by the same challenges that have ushered in the retail apocalypse and resulted in thousands of store closures.
Online competition, the decline of “big box” stores, and challenging economic times are three big reasons that helped fell the rugged outdoor retailer. On top of that, the U.S. has been hit with increasingly warm winters; bad news for a store that sells winter sports equipment and clothing.
A loss of sales from the Boy Scouts of America also helped push Canfield’s over the edge. The store once supplied the Boy Scouts with vests, books, and badges; accounting for around 15% of the store’s sales. Scouts would also end up buying camping gear, boots etc. when they visited the store.
But in 2015, the Boy Scouts of America pulled its distributorship.
“That really was the beginning of the end,” Marble said.
It also didn’t help that many of Canfield’s vendors started their own websites, redirecting sales away from the store. It’s largest vendor, Carhartt, opened its own store in 2016 in nearby Papillion.
“The headwinds were too strong,” Marble said.
Nebraska Retail Store Closures in 2017
Traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers across Nebraska and the entire U.S. are struggling to compete with online-sellers like Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN). Smaller, specialty brands like Canfield’s are also facing increased competition from chains like Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT), Cabela’s, Scheels, and Dicks Sporting Goods Inc (NYSE:DKS).
In addition to popular regional stores like Canfield’s, a number of other retail stores have gone out of business and/or shuttered their doors in 2017.
The Kmart at 50th and L Streets is expected to close in mid-January 2018. A liquidation sale began in October. This Kmart location was first opened in 1968 and is the last Kmart store in Omaha. Those who want to find out what the Blue Light Special is will have to check out the Kmart in Council Bluffs.
In April, it was announced that the rue21 store in the Wilderness Hills shopping center in Lincoln would close, along with two other locations in Nebraska. In addition to the rue21 in Lincoln, the teen clothing store company is also shutting its outlet store in Gretna and a store in North Platte.
Gordmans, a Nebraska-based department store that first opened its doors in 1915, filed for bankruptcy protection in March 2017. Stage Stores bought half of the stores and the Gordmans name out of Chapter 11. But the new owner closed four of the five Omaha-area stores. The only Gordmans left in is in Council Bluffs.
As is often the case, retailers that are bought or restructured out of bankruptcy often end up having their store count cut back. This was the case with Gordmans and larger national chains like RadioShack and Payless ShoeSource.
Whether it’s regional brands or national brands, the economic climate and virtually non-existent wage growth, coupled with growing online sales, means the retail apocalypse will continue in 2018.
“End of An Era,” Canfield’s Sporting Goods, December 6, 2017.
“Canfield’s to close, ending its 71-year run as an independent sporting goods store,” Omaha World-Herald, December 6, 2017.
“Kmart at 50th and L Streets is closing; 1 left in Omaha metro area,” Omaha World-Herald, October 6, 2017.
“Rue 21 closing Lincoln store, 2 others in Nebraska,” Lincoln Journal Star, April 18, 2017.
“Decision to close all Gordmans stores in Omaha is ‘all about dollars and cents’,” Omaha World-Herald, April 10, 2017.