Dick’s Sporting Goods will stop selling firearms and other hunting products in at least 100 of its stores. The move is the result of declining sales due, in part, to negative consumer reaction to the company’s policy on gun sales.
After the shooting in Parkland , Florida, the CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods, Edward Stack, made the decision to stop selling guns to adults under the age of 21, and to destroy current inventory and stop selling AR-15 style rifles as well as magazines which hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
Stack became a gun-control activist calling for Congress to pass “common-sense” gun safety laws. He hired lobbyists through the company to push for federal gun control and became an outspoken advocate for the anti-gun community.
As a result, some firearms manufacturers stopped doing business with Dick’s completely.
In addition, the company saw steadily declining sales in its hunting department. The company’s Chief Financial Officer, Lee Belitsky, said that sales were “negatively impacted by double-digit declines in hunt and electronics.”
Stack said that he was prepared to deal with the fallout from the gun community. The time to deal with that fallout has come.
The New York Times reports this week that Dick’s earnings are down. “[S]ame-store sales fell 3.1 percent in the 12 months that ended Feb. 2 from the comparable period a year earlier.”
“In the fourth quarter, which included the holiday shopping season, adjusted same-store sales were down 2.2 percent,” the New York Times reported. “Net income for the quarter fell to $102.6 million, or $1.07 a share, from $116 million, or $1.11 a share in the year-earlier period.”
Consumer reaction to Dick’s policy on guns was called a “meaningful driver” in the sales declines.
“People in the gun business are not terribly happy with us,” said Stack. “They said we were toxic, which is fine with us; we’re not going to change the way we’re going.”
Dick’s intends to combat the drop in earnings by removing firearms and other hunting products in 125 of its stores. The company did a trial run using this strategy with 10 of its stores in the fall. During the trial, firearms and other hunting products were replaced with batting cages, ski apparel and other sports gear. The change resulted in an increase in sales numbers.
I suppose Dick’s will have to chalk this one up to a lesson learned. You cannot have an anti-gun policy and expect pro-gun consumers to buy your products and support your brand.
When it comes to the gun community, you are either with us or you are against us. There can be no middle ground. Dick’s chose to stand on the anti-gun side of the line, leaving them little choice but to get out of the gun business in order to save their bottom line.