Edwin Watts Stores file bankruptcy

Edwin Watts Stores file bankruptcy

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    From Adam Schupak at Golf Week:

    Edwin Watts Golf Shops, the golf-specialty retailer that claims to offer the largest inventory of pro-line golf equipment, apparel and accessories through its 90 domestic retail locations and via its web portal, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Bloomberg reported.

    According to papers filed Nov. 4 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., and cited by Bloomberg, the Fort Walton Beach, Fla.-based retailer listed assets and liabilities between $100 million and $500 million. Callaway Golf is the largest unsecured creditor, with a claim of $4.6 million. The retailer also said it had obtained a loan of as much as $38 million to fund operations in bankruptcy.

    Edwin Watts, which was founded in 1968 and is owned by private-equity firm Sun Capital Partners, noted in its filing that it agreed to sell certain assets to GWNE.

    The full filing is: Edwin Watts Golf Shops LLC, Case No. 13-12877, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware.

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    I didn't realize that Edwin Watts was in a challenging financial circumstance. Is this an industry-wide malaise or specific to Edwin Watts? How is Golfsmith doing? Thanks for the link to the filing Chris...It'll shed some light on the particulars  of Edwin Watts...

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    I gues that bigger isn't always better...or profitable.

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    I never cared for Edwin Watts.  I am sure they will be reorganized as soon as the courts allow.

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    Sad. On-line options are killing so many of these stores.

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    Sorry to hear that.  As pistolpete said, I hope Golfsmith is doing ok.  They just closed one in Kennesaw, GA, which was my local store of choice.  I was fitted for my TItleist clubs there, bought much of my FJ collection there.  We had an Edwin Watts nearby too, and like NCBob, I wasn't a huge fan, but that closed a couple of years ago.  

    I'll just have to keep supporting my local pro shops when it comes to FJ purchases.  I don't want to see that die off too.

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    Luckily Chp 11 is just the reorganization bankruptcy, so they might have to close a few stores, but they should be fine.  There is an Edwin Watts around the corner from my house and they have always given me the best customer service.

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    This story bears out the cyclical nature of retail and consumer preferences. In the end, it has little to do with golf, and everything to do with how you run your business on a day to day basis.

    Having spent my professional life developing products that are bought at retail, I've seen more businesses start and fail than I can count. If you think deeply about it, so have you, as acquisitions, mergers, bankruptcies, and closures of some iconic brands takes place all the time. As Rick says, bigger usually isn't better, and trying to be all things to all people/markets is a bad recipe too. Edwin Watts wasn't the worst retailer out there in golf, so it's not a good sign. But it happens.

    In a similar vein, for those of you that visit Las Vegas, and subtle change has happened. This is not Titleist news, but relevant. Down on Las Vegas Blvd beyond the airport was a Callaway Golf Center, including a "Divine 9" par 3 course. I played the course many times, and while not a stellar venue, it allowed one to shake off the kinks for a couple hours, even at night as it was lit up (typical Vegas!). The course included a C-way fitting center and retail store.

    Well this facility has now closed and been acquired by the folks at TM Golf, and the entire place is undergoing a multi-million dollar rehab/renovation. Seems the folks at Callaway are having some issues as well finding their way of late, and this facility was no longer an asset worth keeping.

    The circle of life.........

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    The circle of life is right TH.

    We have a local shop thats been around for 20+ years.  Run by the same guy and just recently moved into a larger facility.  He's one of the ones doing well.  There are instances of MANY others who have renamed themselves multiple times and still don't make it or bigger chains closing stores (some or all).  It's the way of life in retail.

    Look at Best Buy in the non-golf category.  They've struggled for a few years now with online retailers taking a BIG chunk of their sales away (and this after Circuit City went by the wayside).

    However they have rethought how they're doing things and how their stores are laid and they're making a solid comeback and starting to be a player again in the electronics/entertainment retail world.

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    The ability of consumers to compare and shop with countless vendors demands constant oversight by companies today. Some companies change their business model to better compete ans some don't. Not that many years ago top line equipment was obtained at your clubs pro shop, then came the retail outlets and now the internet. As I remember the retail companies had little concern about your local pro losing money and I have little concerns about the internet putting them in check.

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    Sorry to hear, though I've never really bought anything from them... well I've window shopped maybe.

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    A friend of mine that runs a Watts store told me all purchasing was moved to corporate levels eliminating  the local managers From ordering what their stores sell... He has a back room full of stuff that he can't get ride of... This will kill profitability.

    He is kind of happy this has happened... But not sure of employee layoffs, that's the sad thing

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    etakmit
    The circle of life is right TH.

    We have a local shop thats been around for 20+ years.  Run by the same guy and just recently moved into a larger facility.  He's one of the ones doing well.  There are instances of MANY others who have renamed themselves multiple times and still don't make it or bigger chains closing stores (some or all).  It's the way of life in retail.

    Look at Best Buy in the non-golf category.  They've struggled for a few years now with online retailers taking a BIG chunk of their sales away (and this after Circuit City went by the wayside).

    However they have rethought how they're doing things and how their stores are laid and they're making a solid comeback and starting to be a player again in the electronics/entertainment retail world.

    Tim

    Glad you bought up Best Buy (BBC).... Why? I was in Consumer Electronics in the 1980's when they were a 2 store operation coming out of bankruptcy in Minneapolis. Long story, but their success for a while is well known.

    One of the buyers I worked with (code name RZ) left to pursue his dreams of a golf store. Up sprang a small Minneapolis based outfit called Golf Galaxy. If you've been in one, visualize the "racetrack" design popularized at BBC and fit to Golf Galaxy. What did they do? Grew and grew, franchising along the way. Went national. And where are they today? Glad you asked. They were gobbled up by Richards Sporting Goods out of Pittsburgh.

    Retail is a copy cat business. Do well and you will be knocked off, no matter if you are a store, a brand, or a product. Everyone wants to "be like Mike." Success is not easy or by chance. It comes with hard work and elbow grease, which by the way, the original E Watts had. They too, sadly, lost their way.

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    Have been an avid shopper of the store in Charleston for many years.  Bought my first set of clubs (Wlson Staff) from Store Manager, Jack Hinkle in 1984 who has been with them forever and is now one of their District Managers.  He has always been been a friend when I needed assistance.    Founder Edwin Watts had sold out about 11 years ago to an investment company and is still working for them.  I ordered a Titleist club from them recently and it took forever and I asked the current manager why and he stated it was in the hands of management (corporate) above him and Titleist.  Something that simple in the past would have taken seven days took over six weeks.  Have watched them grow in the South while a lot of others went out of business in our area.  Heard rumors weeks ago that their credit was in poor shape.   Over the past few years they have been opening a lot of new stores and maybe this is an effort to rightsize.  Have spent a lot of money over the years with them and the store here does a good business.  It is on the way to Kiawah Island.   Somethings can be ordered online but stores like this are needed.  You need to feel the clubs and you need to try on the hats and gloves.....you need to hit the clubs........you need that one on one service........I will not purchase clubs online....I did once and never again.....this could work out best for the company

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    Paul G's observation that a store manager at Watts could not customize his purchasing to accommodate the needs and whims of his local clientele is a classic mismanagement error. When bean counters lured by volume discounts start running the local ordering of stock, well nothing good is going to come out of that kind of centralization....Time again, the proven road to success, entrepreneurial enterprise, is derailed by managerial meddling from afar. Edwin Watts senior management should be shown the door having allowed the enterprise to founder in centralized management muck!