Following disappointing results from Cabela's (NYSE:CAB) last month, and mixed results so far this year from Big 5 Sporting Goods (NASDAQ:BGFV) (after striking out in August, it surpassed expectations in its latest quarter), Gander Mountain's (NASDAQ:GMTN) third-quarter loss because of weak consumer demand shouldn't have raised any eyebrows.

After the bell yesterday, Gander Mountain reported a loss of $0.25 per share, along with an 8.4% drop in same-store sales. While the company blamed weak consumer demand and warm weather for affecting the fall hunting season, its performance, too, has been inconsistent this year. Dick's Sporting Goods (NYSE:DKS) seems to be the one retailer in this space regularly giving shareholders something to be merry about. This leads me to think Gander Mountain and most outdoors retailers simply fail to stand out in this highly competitive and fragmented market.

Of course, I have yet to mention the other bit of news released yesterday: Gander Mountain's acquisition of Overton's, a catalog and Internet seller of water sports equipment. As a few Motley Fool CAPS investors have noted, Gander Mountain is making a push into boat sales, and Overton's will provide great cross-selling opportunities. However, the company remains fundamentally weak against intense competition. Having been burned waiting for Pier 1 Imports to come around, I think Ringo Starr summed up turnarounds pretty well: "Got to pay your dues if you wanna sing the blues, and you know it don't come easy."

Noting the competition -- Jarden's (NYSE:JAH) acquisition of K2 in April and last week's news of Dick's making a move into Southern California -- I have to think Gander Mountain will soon find itself hooked at the end of a fishing line. If I were going to buy these shares, it would be more for catching the premium that a bigger fish will pay than counting on the company to become one of the best-of-breed retailers that deserves a richer valuation.

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Fool contributor Jason Ramage welcomes your comments. Although he enjoys the great outdoors, he does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article. The Fool has a disclosure policy.