Two Major U.S. Store Chains Get Government’s OK to Merge

consumer
July 05, 2017

9 months after announcing a merger, two of America’s most beloved outdoor gear chains are finally getting clearance from the Federal Trade Commission to move ahead with their deal, according to CBS affiliate KMTV. The decision was announced earlier this week.

Back in October of 2016, Missouri-based Bass Pro Shops declared its intention to acquire a major competitor, Nebraska-based Cabela’s for $5.5 billion, according to the Forum News Service. Both store chains use elaborately decorated retail locations to draw in hunting and fishing enthusiasts, as well as other outdoor recreationists.

As part of the deal, Cabela’s agreed to sell their popular credit card business — “World’s Foremost Bank” — to Capital One. And that appears to be where the hang-up originally occurred.

But now that the FTC has cleared away the antitrust hurdles for the merger, Bass Pro Shops’ buyout of Cabela’s has dropped from $5.5 billion to $4.2 billion. Since Cabela’s went public in 2004, though, the deal will need to be voted on next Tuesday by shareholders.

All this comes in the wake of numerous, well-known retail chains shutting down a significant number of their stores or closing up shop altogether. According to PennLive.com, announcements were made this year 5,300 store closures. That’s a big jump from last year.

That number is particularly significant because it’s the highest number of store closings since the recession in 2008, when the economy was in panic-mode and consumers were much less willing to part with their cash. But here’s what’s even crazier. 6,164 stores were closed in all of 2008. That’s only 1,100 more than the 5,300 stores closed in just the first half of 2017.

“The second half of 2017 will continue to be a tough period for the retail industry, with struggling retailers continuing to close stores or even file for bankruptcy,” the Fung Global Retail & Technology think tank predicted, adding that close to 9,500 stores may close this year in total.

So why all the store closings? America is certainly not in another recession. The scapegoat of online shopping is again being blamed.