Gander Outdoors to include RV dealerships on site
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Gander Outdoors stores across the US are set to be used as Recreational Vehicles (RV) sales dealerships.
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, owner of the country’s largest RV sales network, and the group which has bought the locations of the bankrupt outdoor sports and fishing tackle retailer, formerly known as Gander Mountain, revealed his plans at a conference earlier this month.
The move is good news for the fishing industry, Lemonis said, as on a merchandise level the Gander Outdoors product mix is being shifted from firearms to fishing and marine categories, which better suit the needs of RV users.
He added that it was his plan all along to use the sites to extend his RV dealership portfolio. He said: “I think a lot of people were under the impression that we thought it was a good idea to get into the pure box retail industry and sell sporting goods. That was never ultimately the aim. The goal was to get into markets and real estate that allowed us to install RV dealerships into as many as we could and come into the marketplace through the back door.”
He added that in certain markets where Gander Outdoors operates, including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana, Camping World was ‘missing market share and we did not see acquisition opportunities that were attractive’.
He said that the move to buy Gander Mountain was less expensive from a real estate standpoint versus buying land and building dealerships.
“The capital that has been invested in those 60-odd locations was largely done to pave the way for the RV showroom and sales office to be set up and the units to be displayed outside.”