Bass Pro Shops has issued an update following its acquisition of rival Cabela’s on September 25, 2017. The company said that it plans to merge Cabela’s corporate headquarters in Sidney, Nebraska with Bass Pro Shops’ HQ in Springfield, Missouri. Cabela’s employs about 2,000 workers in Sidney, which has a population of about 6,900. About 700 Cabela’s corporate workers have applied for a voluntary buyout plan offered by Bass Pro, and another 500 would continue to work in Sidney in the offices that remain open.
Bass Pro took out a full-page advertisements valued at US$100,000 in the Wall Street Journal offering prospective employers offices in the building. “We are aggressively marketing our offer to donate unused office buildings valued at $35m to qualified employers for $1 per year. Our goal is to attract employers and create new jobs in Sidney,” wrote Jack Wlezien, director of communications at Bass Pro Group, to local media.
Bass Pro CEO Johnny Morris has launched a US$20m fund to help displaced employees. A former Cabela’s executive has contributed US$700,000. Morris pledged to match any donation up to US$10m.
In a letter to Cabela’s employees in December, Morris said Cabela’s has been underperforming over the last few years in a challenging retail marketplace. He said sales have fallen since 2013 and the company would likely lose business in 2017. Cabela’s has been operating “under the weight of an extremely heavy corporate payroll that is over two times greater than that of Bass Pro Shops to conduct relatively the same volume of business,” said Morris.
The merger included Cabela’s 82 stores in the US and Canada and 95 Bass Pro Shops stores in the US and Canada.
Wlezien said “these actions reflect our goals to ensure the sustainable, long-term success of the company, and to go above and beyond what is required to support those impacted, particularly in Sidney.” He added: “We are trying to do all we can to be supportive to the people of Sidney under difficult times for the company and the industry.”