Eddie Bauer and Pacific Sunwear of California are exploring a merger to consolidate their store footprint and weather a prolonged downturn in the U.S. brick-and-mortar retail sector, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
The two sporty retailers have previously succumbed to bankruptcy and are searching for growth. In a merger, the companies could whittle down their store counts from their current total of nearly 700 together, the sources said.
Eddie Bauer and Pacific Sunwear are controlled by a common owner, private equity firm Golden Gate Capital. Golden Gate Capital has not yet decided whether to combine the two companies and its plans for the retailers could still change, the sources said, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential.
Golden Gate and Eddie Bauer declined to comment. Pacific Sunwear could not be reached for comment.