Los Angeles Business Journal

Sport Chalet Hires Advisor to Explore Options

By Business Journal Staff Monday, September 23, 2013

Sport Chalet Inc. announced on Monday that it is exploring a range of options – including a strategic partner or possible joint venture – as it seeks to jump start sales that have lagged since the recession.

The La Cañada-Flintridge specialty sport retailer has engaged Cappello Capital Corp. of Santa Monica as it tries to reboot itself.

“Sport Chalet has lacked funding to grow at the pace the company wants. We believe that in collaboration with the right partner, we can more expeditiously implement our growth plans across all channels and create shareholder value,” said Chief Executive Craig Levra, in a prepared statement.

The statement also noted that Sport Chalet lacked “the capital of some of our larger competitors” and that the company was prepared to explore everything from a strategic alliance or joint venture to taking on investors.

The announcement follows several poor quarters. In its fiscal first quarter ended June 30, Sport Chalet announced a loss of $2.8 million (-20 cents a share), compared with a net income of $100,000 (1 cent) in the same quarter last year. Net sales fell almost 3 percent to $81.5 million.

Over the last few months, Sport Chalet has tried various measures to slow its sales decline in the 52 stores it operates in Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah.

In April, the company announced a new service that allows customers to order products by phone and receive delivery the same day. And in July, the firm opened what it’s calling the “next generation” of Sport Chalet outlets in downtown L.A., featuring a smaller size and an Expert Center that gives patrons the chance to get advice on products and sports.

Still, in the face of lower-priced chains and online merchants, it has lost market share. The company has posted losses each of the last five years, though it had some profitable quarters last year. The stock has been hammered after topping $10 in 2007.

Shares closed unchanged Monday at $1.25 on the Nasdaq.