City Sports Closing All Stores, Including Three in Philly Area

Going-out-of-business sales start Friday.

City Sports at 1608 Walnut Street is set for closure. (Photo by Jared Shelly)

City Sports at 1608 Walnut Street is set for closure. (Photo by Jared Shelly)

City Sports is set to liquidate all its assets and close its 26 locations nationwide — including three in the Philadelphia area. The company filed for bankruptcy in October and was unable to find a buyer willing to keep the stores open.

Philadelphians may know its 1608 Walnut Street location well and customers were shopping there as an alternative to big chains like Dick’s Sporting Goods or Modell’s. Their signature T-shirts were certainly becoming ubiquitous in the region.

Although the company sought to liquidate eight stores and keep the other 18 open, it failed to find a buyer interested in that plan, the Wall Street Journal reported. Instead, the company was purchased by Hilco Global and Gordon Brothers Retail Partners at an auction this week. The purchase price was not disclosed.

“Hilco and Gordon Brothers are known for buying troubled companies and selling off assets through going-out-of-business sales,” the Boston Globe reported.

City Sports’ sales had been suffering from a very competitive marketplace for sporting goods and name-brand apparel — as well as a severe winter last year, the Globe said. It also failed to make repeat customers out of distinct sets of athletes. Lululemon is for yogis. REI is for the outdoorsy types.

“They weren’t a brand themselves,” Ani Collum, a partner at Retail Concepts told the Globe. “They were just selling lots of other people’s brands.”

But there is hope that the City Sports name can live on. The WSJ explains:

“City Sports also sold its intellectual property, including the City Sports name, for $400,000 to Soccer Post, a soccer-gear retailer with stores in 16 states. Blake Sonnek-Schmelz, owner of Soccer Post, said he plans to launch a retail operation under the City Sports name next year.”