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For What It’s Worth

When Sports Authority filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month, the plan was to close a third of its stores and make a go of it with the rest.

But creditors, owed a billion dollars, thought otherwise, and the specialty chain will instead be liquidated into oblivion.

I don’t know much about the sporting goods channel, so I’ll leave it to others to decide whether CEO Michael Foss should be pilloried for mismanagement or lauded for fighting a valiant rear-guard action.

What I do know is that Sports Authority was felled by the same marketplace dynamics squeezing all big-box specialty chains, and ultimately failed to fend off online competition and figure out a way to leverage all that real estate.

But there’s one other thing: Of all the liquidations we’ve had the displeasure to report — and the CE biz has had more than its fair share — this is the only one I can recall in which the CEO reached out to his customer base himself to say thank you and goodbye:

Of course, Foss’s note is also a pitch for the fire sales running now through August, and is cold comfort to the thousands of employees who will find themselves out of work this summer.

But give the man credit for signing his name to an acknowledgement of defeat. Other chief executives are all too eager to take a bow in good times, and fade back into the corporate haze when things go south.