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Sports Authority files for bankruptcy protection, will close 140 stores

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Sports Authority has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and will be shutting down more than a third of its stores.

The sporting goods retailer announced via a statement Wednesday it will close or sell off 140 of its stores over the next three months. The locations of these stores have not yet been revealed.

The company has filed for bankruptcy protection as it implements plan to "streamline and strengthen our business" in response to a "changing retail environment."

Sports Authority has nine stores in Minnesota, with eight in the Twin Cities metro and one in Rochester.

Its most recent addition in Minnesota was a new location on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis, which only opened this past October. Sports Authority closed its Minnetonka location earlier this year.

Customers have been told the changes won't affect gift card balances in store or online, warranties, Sports Authority credit card payments or return/exchange policies.

Fortune reports analysts had speculated Sports Authority was in trouble when it missed a $20 million interest payment in January, prompting a 30-day grace period in which it could negotiate with creditors.

According to CNN Money, it has recently struggled with debts accrued following a leveraged buyout 10 years ago.

It has struggled to compete with online retailers such as Amazon and has also since been overtaken as the leading bricks-and-mortar sports retailer by Dick's Sporting Goods, which the publication notes has grown "by providing a more high-end shopping experience."

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