- Camping World Holdings has deepened its position in outdoor retail with the acquisition of regional gear seller Erehwon Mountain Outfitter, according to a press release, which did not include terms of the deal. A Camping World spokesperson did not immediately reply to a request for more details.
- Founded in 1972, Erehwon has three stores in the Chicago area and a flagship in Milwaukee. Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis said in the release that the acquisition is part of a strategy of "diligently creating segments within the outdoor space that allows for clear focus and growth." He added that the purchase would help his company expand its e-commerce business.
- The acquisition is one of several in the past eight months. During that period Camping World, a major seller of RVs, has acquired some of bankrupt outdoor retailer Gander Mountain's assets (including boating retailer Overton's) as well as TheHouse.com, which sells outdoors equipment online; Uncle Dan's, an outdoor gear and apparel shop; and W82 (formerly Windward Boardshop), a specialty store featuring snowboards, longboards, skateboards, outerwear, swimwear and accessories.
When Camping World acquires a new outdoor gear seller, it doesn't just gain a new retail arm — it also gains new names and contacts for its growing customer database.
On a November conference call, Lemonis said his company is trying to reach the millennial outdoor enthusiast. This group is the fastest growing among RV buyers, partly because they value an active, outdoorsy lifestyle that includes not just camping but weekend soccer tournaments, hunting and fishing trips, tailgating events and outdoor activities, Lemonis said, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript.
"Not only does this widen our target market, but it allows us to cross out a comprehensive portfolio of higher margin recurring revenue products and services across a wider database of customers" who have a long life cycle with the retailer, Lemonis said. "This is this is the very essence of our business model and we remain focused on doing anything we can to grow our database and sell a variety of products and services across this database."
With the company's new acquisitions, Camping World has more products to sell to RV customers in need of gear, and new camping customers (that either now or in the future) may buy an RV, too.
Lemonis and Camping World are in expansion mode but have been adamant about preserving profitability. From the get-go, for example, Lemonis made it clear that only Gander Mountain (which the company rebranded as Gander Outdoors) stores with good prospects would survive.
"It's up to the local staff, the manager to run that store profitably," he said in May via Periscope, correcting reports that all Gander Mountain stores would shutter. "I will not be picking stores that do not have a clear path to profitability — I will not do that under any circumstance."