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May 25, 2024

Besides Meriden layoffs, parent company of Bob’s Stores, Eastern Mountain Sports plans store closures

COSTAR The Bob's Stores, Eastern Mountain Sports warehouse, at 160 Corporate Court, in Meriden.

In addition to pending layoffs at its Meriden warehouse, the parent company of Bob’s Stores and Eastern Mountain Sports plans to close five “underperforming” stores, a company spokesperson confirmed to the Hartford Business Journal.

The president of both retailers, David Barton, informed state labor officials earlier this week that the companies expect to lay off a combined 154 employees who work at a warehouse in Meriden, at 160 Corporate Court.

Both companies are owned by Los Angeles-based GoDigital Media Group, which purchased Eastern Mountain and Bob’s Stores in 2022 for $70 million from U.K.-based Frasers Group plc. At the time of the deal, GoDigital said it added 900 employees, 42 stores and a warehouse and fulfillment center.

David Barton, who leads Bob’s and Eastern Mountain, in a WARN notice to the state Department of Labor, wrote that the company plans to make the layoffs by May 31, as a result of financial issues with its lender. 

In a follow-up email, a company spokesperson said “Bob’s Stores and Eastern Mountain Sports have recently needed to aggressively reposition the business to ensure the longevity of the company.” 

As part of the changes, the spokesperson said the company has also “made the difficult decision to close five underperforming stores.” That includes a Bob’s in Southington, two Bob’s Stores in New Jersey, and two Eastern Mountain Sports locations — one in New York and another in New Hampshire. 

“We are actively working to relocate as many employees as possible from these impacted locations to nearby Bob’s and Eastern Mountain Sports stores,” the spokesperson said. “These closings have been a challenging yet necessary step to ensure the longevity of the company. We are grateful for the hard work and dedication of all our employees, and will continue to serve our loyal customers who have known and loved our brands for decades.”

Barton, in his letter to state labor officials, said an unidentified bank recently informed the company “that it will refuse to fund the employee health insurance premiums, 401K administration, payroll, as well as other critical financial obligations which, if not paid, will likely prevent us from being able to operate the business going forward.”

No further details about the financial issues were provided. 

The layoffs would impact 145 Bob’s Stores employees and nine Eastern Mountain Sports workers, according to the WARN notice. 


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