March 12, 2020 By Christian Murray
Modell’s Sporting Goods, a family-owned company that was founded in 1889, announced Wednesday that it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and that it would be closing all 115 of its stores.
The company, which has nine stores in Queens, is one of many traditional retailers to go bust in recent years.
Shopping districts throughout the borough have seen the departure of Payless Shoes, Toys R Us and children’s chain Gymboree in recent times.
Modell’s bankruptcy also follows Sports Authority, a 450-store chain, that went out of business in 2016.
Modell’s has been struggling for some time despite the loss of its rival Sports Authority. It has faced tough online competition, analysts say, as well as from Dick’s Sporting Goods, the only national sporting goods chain left.
“Over the past year, we evaluated several options to restructure our business to allow us to maintain our current operations. While we achieved some success, in partnership with our landlords and vendors, it was not enough to avoid a bankruptcy filing amid an extremely challenging environment for retailers,” Modell’s Chief Executive Officer, Mitchell Modell, said in a statement yesterday.
Modell, in a recent interview, attributed the company’s financial difficulty not just to online competitors. He told the New York Post earlier this year that the “lousy” local sports teams depressed jersey sales; the recent holiday season was shorter; and the warm winter had hit jacket, boot and glove sales.
The retailer known for its “Gotta Go to Mo’s” advertising slogan, will start liquidation sales on Friday. It will continue to sell products online.
The company has stores in Astoria, Jackson Heights, Sunnyside/Long Island City, Flushing, Queens Mall, College Point, Ozone Park, Fresh Meadows and Jamaica.
The company was founded by Morris Modell, who started a store on Cortlandt Street in lower Manhattan, according to the company website. The company, which had approximately 150 stores last year throughout the Northeast, is currently being run by the fourth generation of the Modell family.