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NEW YORK -- The recently announced merger of The Sports Authority and Gart Sports makes so much sense, on paper anyway, that it was inevitable the companies would get together. The combination creates the sporting goods industry's first truly national full-line chain with 385 stores in 45 states and annual sales of $2.5 billion.
While the deal is relatively small in the context of the overall retail industry, it is a huge development within the $75 billion sporting goods market because The Sports Authority, with annual sales of approximately $1.4 billion, and Gart Sports, with estimated annual sales of $1.1 billion, are the two largest operators.
In other segments of retail a merger between two large players draws close scrutiny and outright opposition from federal regulators looking to preserve competition. Think Staples and Office Depot, CVS and Revco or Albertson's and American …