Bob’s Stores and Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS), both owned by Los Angeles-based GoDigital Media Group, are closing some stores and undergoing layoffs as the retailers face liquidity concerns.

According to, Bob’s and EMS are laying off about 150 employees at its headquarters and distribution center in Meriden, CT, while closing 15 stores.

When GoDigital Media acquired the two banners from U.K.-based Frasers Group, EMS had 20 stores in seven U.S. Northeastern states while Bob’s operated 22 stores in the Northeast.

The report indicates GoDigital Media first announced the closing of 10 stores in mid-May this year and then announced it would close another five stores on May 24.

In a statement regarding the closing of 10 stores, Bob’s and EMS said, “Bob’s Stores and Eastern Mountain Sports are in the midst of making aggressive changes to ensure the future health of our company. As part of these changes, we have made the difficult decision to close 10 under-performing stores. 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 statement continued: “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.”

Store closings include:

  • Bob’s stores: Hamden, CT; Southington, CT; Freehold, NJ; and Watchung, NJ.
  • EMS stores: Burlington, MA; Deptford, NJ; Freeport, ME; Hyannis, MA; Albany, NY; and Manchester, NH.

News of the closings comea after Bob’s and EMS filed a WARN notice on May 21 with the Connecticut Department of Labor regarding the pending layoff of 148 employees at its offices and warehouse located in Meriden.

David Barton, president of Bob’s and EMS, wrote in a letter to the State Department of Labor and Meriden Mayor Kevin Scarpati, We are taking this action because of business circumstances that were not reasonably foreseeable. We would like to have given you more notice of this action but were unable to do so because the bank has informed us within the last week 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. As of this date, they remain firm on their position despite our continuing best efforts to convince them otherwise. Unfortunately, the circumstances leading to this layoff were not reasonably foreseeable at an earlier date. We are currently seeking alternative funding sources, but we cannot guarantee a favorable outcome.”

The layoffs will begin on June 14 unless alternate funding is secured.

Signs of distress are also evident online with Bob’s website “Under Construction” while EMS is holding an “Everything On Sale! Total Inventory Blowout” promotion with all merchandise at 20 percent off.

Bob’s and EMS have both struggled for years while rapidly changing owners.

In 2016, Vestis Retail Group, then the owner of Bob’s and EMS, filed for bankruptcy protection and sold the business to Eastern Outfitters, an entity owned by private equity firm Versa Capital Management LLC.

In April 2017, Frasers Group, which operates Sports Direct and House of Fraser in the U.K., acquired Bob’s and EMS for a $101 million cash deal as Eastern Outfitters faced a bankruptcy threat. Frasers Group sold Bob’s and EMS for $70 million in cash to GoDigital Media in May 2022.

Image courtesy Bob’s/EMS