Gander Mountain Co. — best known for hunting, camping and fishing products — has filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy court protection.

The filing was made Friday in a St. Paul bankruptcy court. Also filing was a subsidiary that sells boating and water-sports products called Overton’s Inc.

The petition listed estimated assets between $500 million and $1 billion and estimated liabilities in the same range. It operates about 160 stores across 26 states.

Timothy G. Becker, executive vice president of Lighthouse Management Group Inc. and the chief restructuring officer of Gander Mountain, said in a filing with the bankruptcy court that the business is comprised of brick-and-mortar stores, an online site and a catalogue operation.

Some of the creditors on the list for having the top unsecured trade claims include: Vista Outdoor Sales, Anoka, Minn., $15.2 million; Pure Fishing, Brainerd, Minn., $4.5 million; Remington Arms Co., Madison, N.C., $2.6 million; Sports South LLC, Shreveport, La., $1.4 million; Smith & Wesson, Philadelphia, $1.2 million, and Under Armour, Baltimore, $1.1 million.

The company said Friday that the filing was the result of an “in-depth review of the company’s strategic options undertaken in recent months to preserve the value of the company and position it for long-term success.” It also noted that it has been experiencing challenging traffic patterns and shifts in consumer demand as a result of direct-to-consumer sales by key vendors and the accelerated growth of e-commerce.

The company also said it is in discussions “with a number of parties interested in a going-concern sale” and that it expects to solicit bids prior to a court auction that it expects to be held in later next month. It also expects to provide the bankruptcy court with a winning bid for approval by early May, and the closing of the sale by May 15.

Wells Fargo will provide a debtor-in-possession financing facility to the company. Further, the company will begin closing 32 underperforming stores over the next few weeks.

Gratco Group took Gander Mountain private in 2010.

Gander is the latest retailer in the sports retail sector to file for bankruptcy court protection. Last month, Eastern Outfitters, which operates Bob’s Stores and Eastern Mountain Sports, filed for bankruptcy court protection. Last year saw the bankruptcy filing of The Sports Authority in March, Sports Chalet in April and Golfsmith International in September. Dick’s Sporting Goods acquired 31 Sports Authority locations. It also acquired the bankrupt retailer’s intellectual property for $15 million. Dick’s subsequently also acquired the assets of Golfsmith, including inventory and IP, for $43 million.

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