According to various news reports, Joe's Sports, Outdoor & More is moving to liquidate its stores after being unable to find a buyer. According to an update Thursday on The Oregonian's website, liquidator Gordon Brothers Group made the highest bid at a bankruptcy court hearing on Thursday to liquidate the chain. The bid had not yet been approved by the court. Company spokesman, John Maggan, told SportsOneSource that the hearing was still going on late Thursday afternoon.

According to The Oregonian, Gordon's Brother made a bid of $61 million for merchandise valued at $128.5 million. GOB sales could start at Joe's 31 stores as early as Friday.

Gordon Brothers' was the highest of three bids made by liquidators in recent weeks. No bids were made that aimed to continue operating the 57-year-old sporting goods chain. Gordon Brothers made its bid as part of a joint venture with Crystal Capital Fund Management, a Boston-based private investment group that provided Joe's with credit after the retail filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in early March.

The hearing on Thursday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware was designated to reveal whether Joe's had found buyers for any of its 31 stores or needed to seek approval for going-out-of-business sales if necessary. But lawyers and creditors said the retailer did not receive any bids from companies willing to continue operating the chain's 30 stores and one outlet, the Oregonian reported. Only bids from liquidators arrived. The Oregon-based retailer was also unable to secure any other partners or financing to restructure.

We heard that all of the bidders involved in the final process appear to be liquidators,” Ron Parham, senior director of investor relations at Columbia Sportswear, a creditor in the case, on Wednesday told The Seattle Times. “It does appear to be moving toward liquidation.”

The landlords for Joe's headquarters and four of its stores said in a filing Wednesday that the company was “unable to obtain a going concern bid” for its assets.

According to the Oregonian, a series of staff meetings and internal e-mails alerted employees to the news Wednesday and representatives from WorkSource Clackamas were at the corporate headquarters in Wilsonville to help answer employees' questions about unemployment, said John Blanton, rapid response coordinator for Clackamas Community College's Workforce Development Services.


Blanton, who responds to major company closures and layoffs within 48 hours, said he understood that about 190 corporate and distribution center employees would lose jobs as part of a liquidation.

Another report from KTVL TV in Medford, OR said all store employees of Joe's were informed Wednesday that they will lose their jobs. Managers at stores in Medford and Albany in Oregon told the Associated Press that liquidation sales would begin when an official announcement is made, possibly by Friday. According to the Oregonian, some employees on Wednesday said they'd heard their last day could come as early as Friday, while others heard it could be a few months.


The news was also confirmed by an e-mail blast from a high-level exec at the chain announcing his departure that was received by SportsOneSource. The exec wrote, “It's been a lot of fun finding new categories and building them, being the first to break with the next million dollar item, mounting the first pair of skis we sold and stringing the first tennis racket. Sorry it had to end the way it did as a victim of the economy and banks that would rather cash out than lend money.”

Joe's filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in U.S. Federal court in Delaware in early March and said then that if no buyer were found for the chain in 30 days, it would cease operations. When it filed, it listed assets and debt as both between $100 million and $500 million.

Joe's, founded in 1952, operates 31 stores in Washington, Oregon and Idaho with 1,600 employees. Gryphon Investors, a San Francisco private equity firm, bought the company three years ago.