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Sports Authority May Be Facing Complete Liquidation

Sports Authority appears to be moving closer and closer to complete liquidation.

The sporting goods retailer filed for bankruptcy in March and said last week that instead of trying to reorganize that it would sell of its remaining assets. An auction is slated for May 16.

Sports Authority had expressed optimism about the sale, noting that potential buyers had already expressed interest—but now experts are saying the retailer will close an overwhelming majority of its 450-plus stores, if not all of them, and they may be shuttered in the relatively near future.

In its original bankruptcy filing, Sports Authority had said it would close just 140 stores and keep the remaining outlets open.

But facing its more than $1.1 billion in debt, the company seemed unable to reorganize as originally planned.

Larry Perkins of SierraConstellation Partners, an expert in retail reorganizations, told CNN Money that if a buyer does decide to take Sports Authority on and keep any of its stores open, it will likely be in few markets were competition for sports retail is limited, like the Pacific Northwest or Upper Midwest.

Store closures have been rampant in sporting goods stores of late, as more and more face competition from athletic wear sellers with better online offerings.

Last month, Vestis Retail Group, which is owned by affiliates of Versa Capital Management and comprises Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS), Bob’s Stores (Bob’s) and Sport Chalet, confirmed that it is weighing strategic options. Last year, City Sports filed for bankruptcy protection and subsequently shut down all 26 of its stores.