Marcus Lemonis has been very vocal about the evolving re-birth of Gander Outdoors through his personal Twitter account. He is the CEO of Camping World; thus, Gander Outdoors as well. What he has always eluded to when discussing whether he would keep specific stores or not is… only if the lease agreements are beneficial to Gander Outdoors’ future (I am loosely paraphrasing).
With that in mind, Gander Outdoors has cut the expected number of stores it will be re-branding/re-opening in the coming years. Initially, Camping World was expecting to re-open 57 stores for the Gander Outdoors and Overton’s brands according to statements made June 30th. That figure has changed after Marcus Lemonis made a 2nd Quarter call with analysts. The new projected numbers break down like this:
- End of 2017: 15-20 Stores
- Start of 2018: 15-20 More Stores
- Remainder of 2018: 10-30 More Stores
- 2019 & Beyond: “Measured Growth Anticipated Thereafter”
By those projections, we could be seeing as low as 40 Gander Outdoors locations or as high as 70 stores. It was also stated that the new Gander Outdoors stores will not be the same behemoth sporting good malls they once were. Less footwear, less apparel and less square footage are all being planned for the new brand.
Marcus Lemonis spoke about the reasoning behind opening fewer stores:
It really comes down to the rent factor’s got to work for us. And in today’s environment, we believe that we have the leverage with our landlords to enter into both short- and long-term leases that have very favorable terms in light of current retail box market conditions. And we internally have decided that we will not be taking any chances that put the net EBITDA margin (Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortization) that we currently operate into question.
Marcus Lemonis and the Camping World family has been piecing together what could be a one-stop shop brand for outdoor enthusiasts. Camping World now has Gander Mountain and Overton’s under their wing. They also use Good Sam as its services business. Most recently on July 28th, they also acquired The-House.com (The House Boardshop) which is another MN based company.
Lemonis further explained his desire to make an all-encompassing, outdoor-enthusiasts retail oasis:
We really believe that we have the foundation to be an outdoor juggernaut… Our ultimate goal is to have an outdoor lifestyle center, in a perfect world, that has RVs and RV accessories and RV service. It would have an Overton’s department that is made up of everything on the water. It would have an active sports department similar to what The House offers. And it would have the historical hunting and ammunition department that Gander did. And the best way to think about it visually, when you walk into the stores, it’s going to feel like a co-op of multiple brands that have excelled in their specific categories and are assorted by and merchandised by the folks that have the most amount of experience in those specific categories.
In an ideal world, this sounds like a beautiful layout for any outdoors store. In the coming months and years we will see if Marcus Lemonis’ grand plan follows through or not.