Riverhead's Sports Authority location in the Target shopping center is slated to close in the next three months. Photo: Peter Blasl

Riverhead’s Sport Authority is one of 140 stores slated to close after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection yesterday.

The retail sporting goods giant plans to close roughly one-third of its stores in the next three months, with Riverhead’s Route 58 location among them. Sports Authority plans to close three of its four Suffolk County stores, according to documents filed in bankruptcy court in Delaware. Its store in Bohemia was the only Suffolk store not on the closure list.

Sports Authority attributed the decision to the “changing retail environment” in a statement yesterday. The company says the closures are necessary for Sports Authority to focus on its online store and improving its in-store experience for the locations that will remain open.

“This was a tough decision to make,” Michael Foss, chief executive officer, said in the statement. “But we believe it was a necessary step in our plan to make Sports Authority an even better partner for our customers.”

Riverhead’s Sports Authority is just one of several national stores on Route 58 that have closed after bankruptcy proceedings in recent years. Waldbaum’s closed last year after its parent company, A&P, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. And Borders bookstore closed in 2011 after the failing company liquidated its assets.

“I think we’re seeing the beginning of the end of the era of big box stores,” said Town Supervisor Sean Walter. “The reality is everything you can buy in a box store you can buy on an iPhone.”

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