Sports Authority bankruptcy
Shoppers wait in temperatures in the mid-teens as they wait to get their holiday shopping season going at the annual Black Friday sales event at a Sports Authority store Nov. 28, 2014, in Greenfield, Wisconsin. Sports Authority could file for bankruptcy as early as next month after missing a debt payment. Darren Hauck/Getty Images

After years of apparently not being able to figure out what American consumers want out of their local sporting goods retailer, Sports Authority could file for a widely anticipated bankruptcy as early as next month.

The Englewood, Colorado-based company missed a $20 million debt payment last month, leaving it with 30 days to work out a compromise with lenders, reported Reuters, citing people familiar with the issue. The company defaulted on $343 million in debt last week. The company’s cash flow was in the red by $87 million in 2015, according to Moody’s Investors Service.

The fall of the 88-year-old company comes amid a shakeup in the retail industry. One the one side are behemoths that offer comparable goods like and Wal-Mart Stores, while on the other are consumers whose shopping preferences are rapidly changing. Sports Authority has been relying on deep discounting to move inventory, which eats into margins.

“They are product generalists rather than product specialists," Colorado-based retail and marketing consultant Jon Schallert told the Denver Post. "So many consumers these days who are into sports and outdoor activities really want specialized products. Just like Macy's and other generalized big-box stores, they've found themselves in trouble."

Sports Authority was the fourth-largest sporting goods outlet in the country in 2014, based on $3.4 billion in revenue, behind Dick’s Sporting Goods, Academy Sports and Bass Pro Shops. But only Dick’s has more stores. Filing for bankruptcy would be a way to shake off the cost of rent at underperforming stores.

Sports Authority has struggled with a heavy debt load and a seeming inability to attract active, health-conscious buyers, who are increasingly spending their money at smaller, more specialized retailers like Lululemon Athletica and Under Armour. And like most big retailers out there, it hasn’t quite figured out how to compete online with

Sports Authority and its owner, Leonard Green & Partners, declined to comment on the developments.