Sport Chek to open in Langford's former Best Buy

FGL Sports has signed a lease to open a Sport Chek/Atmosphere store in the former Best Buy location at Westshore Town Centre.

The Langford shopping centre confirmed Thursday a deal has been signed and the sporting goods and outdoor retailer is expected to open in the spring. The mall expects the company to start improvements to the 25,825-square-foot space in the coming weeks.

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Best Buy abruptly closed both of its locations in Greater Victoria — the other at Uptown shopping centre — on Jan. 31, citing tough competition from discounters and online retailers in the electronics and home entertainment sector. Dozens of local workers lost their jobs.

Uptown marketing director Kristy Lowes said there are no immediate plans for the 38,321-square-foot building vacated by Best Buy on the upper deck of the Saanich shopping centre.

“We currently have interest in the former Best Buy space from a number of different retail uses,” Lowes said in an email on Thursday. “We are working to determine what is the best fit, followed by negotiations and public announcements.”

Sport Chek has two locations in Victoria: the Bay Centre downtown and the Island Home Centre, just blocks from Uptown on Cloverdale Avenue. The company has one Atmosphere location, specializing in outdoor apparel and gear, in the former A&B Sound building downtown on Yates Street.

Sport Chek’s new location at Westshore Town Centre is one of the larger spaces at the mall, behind Winners/HomeSense at more than 50,000 square feet, The Brick, Fairway Market and the Cineplex theatre.

Best Buy Canada closed seven Best Buy stores and eight Future Shops in January, affecting about 900 staff. The company said it would open smaller Future Shop stores and Best Buy Mobile locations. It also closed 50 stores in the U.S.

FGL Sports is Canada’s largest retailer of sporting goods, offering brand-name and private-brand products and operating 1,000 stores from coast to coast under several banners, including Sport Chek, Atmosphere, Nevada Bob’s, Hockey Experts and Sports Experts.

FGL was founded by Canadian Football League player John Forzani and three Calgary Stampeders teammates in 1974. In 2011, Forzani Group was acquired by Canadian Tire and renamed FGL Sports.

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