Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc., the largest sporting goods retailer in the U.S., will stop selling firearms at 125 of its stores in a move that has nothing to do with its famous anti-gun activism.
CEO Ed Stack said Dick’s will pull what it terms “hunting gear” from stores around the country starting August in response to falling sales. Dick’s is also thinking of removing firearms from many of its other stores within the year.
The store defines hunting gear as rifles and ammunition. Dick’s president Lauren Hobart explained this category also includes “accessories associated with firearms, hunting apparel, anything associated with hunting. It would not include kayaks and other outdoor activities like that.”
Dick’s entered the arena of anti-gun activism on Feb. 28, 2018 when it announced a ban on sales of assault-style rifles immediately after the Parkland, Florida school massacre on Feb. 14.
Dick’s was taken aback by the revelation the Parkland shooter, Nikolas Cruz, bought the automatic rifle used in the gory shooting from one its Field & Stream stores. It also forbade sales of high-capacity magazines and guns to persons under 21 years old.
This is the second time Dick’s has removed firearms from its stores, however. In a move separate from the Parkland ban, Dick’s removed hunting items from 10 stores that were sales underperformers.
After hunting gear was removed, executives said these stores generated positive comparative sales in the fourth quarter of 2018. This lit the green light to expand this fledgling success.
Stack revealed these stores saw higher sales, margins and foot traffic compared to the time when they sold guns.
“Following this success, we will remove Hunt from approximately 125 additional Dick’s stores in 2019 where the category underperforms,” said Stack.
But there was a price to pay for halting gun sales despite this success.
Dick’s yesterday reported its net income for Q4 2018 fell to $102.6 million from $116 million year-on-year. Adjusted same-store sales tumbled 3.1 percent over a 12 month period ending Feb. 2 compared to that period the prior year.
Stack also hinted the company’s Field & Stream brand might be terminated due to slumping sales.
“We’re not sure exactly what we’re going to do with it,” said Stack. “We’re not opening any new Field & Stream stores. And right now, on a formal basis they’re cash flow positive and they’re not a drain on the company.”