TRIADELPHIA, W.Va. — Published reports indicate Bass Pro Shops is working with financial giant Goldman Sachs to purchase fellow outdoor retailer Cabela’s Inc.
Officials with Springfield, Mo.-based Bass Pro Shops would not confirm or deny the reports Tuesday.
“We are aware of recent media speculation and our policy is not to comment on market rumors,” said company spokesman Jack Wlezien.
Cabela’s operates a 175,000-square-foot store at The Highlands retail development outside Wheeling. Both it and Bass Pro Shops offer similar products, including guns, archery equipment, fishing gear, camping and hiking necessities, and a wide variety of clothing.
Efforts to contact Cabela’s corporate office in Sidney, Neb., were unsuccessful Tuesday.
Opening on Aug. 12, 2004 at what was then known as the Fort Henry Business and Industrial Center, The Highlands’ store became Cabela’s 10th location to open in the United States.
The company has grown substantially since that time and now operates about 50 stores in the U.S. and Canada, although it did see a slight decline in net income from $207.1 million in 2014 to $204.7 million in 2015.
“We clearly faced a challenging environment in the fourth quarter,” Cabela’s CEO Tommy Millner said of the period from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31. “However, we were able to drive better than anticipated merchandise revenue as the result of several initiatives, including expanded drop ship programs, retail inventory visibility online, and a focus on key merchandise categories. We are confident that a continued focus on key merchandise categories as well as new initiatives, such as optimization of store formats and digital and mobile leadership, will continue to drive merchandise revenue performance.”
The closest Bass Pro stores to the Wheeling area are in Cincinnati and Harrisburg, Pa., although the company lists planned stores for the Cleveland area and a second in the Cincinnati market.
Similar reports about a Bass Pro purchase of Cabela’s surfaced in November. At that time, Ohio County commissioners, who serve on the county development authority which manages The Highlands, said they did not believe any potential sale of the company would result in The Highlands location closing.
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