UFA Co-operative closing 12-store Wholesale Sports chain in Western Canada

CALGARY — The Wholesale Sports Outdoor Outfitters chain of a dozen hunting, fishing and camping supply stores in Western Canada is shutting down after 30 years in business.

The operation owned by Calgary-based UFA Co-operative Ltd. closed stores on Thursday afternoon to tell the 545 staff their jobs were ending.

Most will be laid off but some may be hired at UFA’s farm stores.

There were 12 Wholesale Sports stores with 440,000 square feet of retail space across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

The chain had revenue of $103 million in 2016, down nine per cent from $113 million in 2015.

The news comes at a time of consolidation for outdoors destination superstores with American giant Bass Pro Shops snapping up rival Cabela’s in a US$4.5-billion deal announced a year ago. Both U.S. companies operate stores in Canada.

UFA, which bought Wholesale Sports in 2008, sold its U.S. stores in 2013.

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