The owner of Camping World, who once warned West Marine that he “was coming to get you,” plans to complete the closure of 27 former outdoor retail stores by the end of January as part of a strategy to focus only on the company’s recreational vehicle retail outlets.
Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis, also a television personality on the television show Shark Tank, had acquired the retail stores of Gander Outlet and smaller retail chains in 2017 to pursue an outdoor retail-store strategy that would partially compete with West Marine and Bass Pro Shops.
The company announced in September that it would “strategically shift away” from stores that cannot sell and service RVs. Camping World reiterated that policy in its November earnings statement, saying it planned to close 32 “outdoor lifestyle locations” by the end of January. It said the restructuring costs would be about $56 million.
“We believe the sale and/or servicing of recreational vehicles is our core and most important offering, and with the RV and outdoor consumer crossover, we believe there is an opportunity to continue growing our market share and improve our financial performance through the operation of locations with RV sales and/or service and, when feasible, our hunting, fishing and camping products,” Lemonis said in a September statement. “We will continue to operate our RV sales and/or service locations under three banners: Camping World, Gander RV and Outdoors, and Gander RV.”
Camping World spent around $100 million buying outdoor retailers in 2017 and 2018. But in the first half of 2019, it sold off many of those assets as the RV business slowed down.