After upsetting gun owners last year by folding to liberal political demands to cease its sales of sporting rifles, Dick’s Sporting Goods has announced it will be removing all guns from 125 stores. The decision follows a trial period in which Dick’s removed hunting rifles from 10 stores where its gun shop had under-performed.
In 2012 Dick’s suspended selling sporting rifles at its stores. Then it began selling them again only at its Field and Stream stores. Last year Dick’s stopped selling them in Field and Stream as well. Now, in its slow divorce with the shooting community, Dick’s has said it won’t be opening up any new Field and Stream stores. Field and Stream (the stores, not the magazine) is a Dick’s subsidiary focused on hunting that describes itself as “the foremost guide for American outdoorsmen, supplying authentic, quality goods for hunting, fishing, camping, paddling and the outdoors that stand the test of time.”
Field and Stream’s ability to “stand the test of time,” appears to be under threat, with Dick’s CEO Ed Stack sounding non-committal to the brand. With fewer stores overall selling guns, and Field and Stream stores on the brink, it seems like Dick’s slow motion divorce with gun owners could be speeding up. Daniel Roberts reports:
Last year, Dick’s removed hunting items from 10 stores where it underperformed. After the removal, those stores generated positive comp sales in Q4. “Following this success,” Dick’s CEO Ed Stack said on the Q4 earnings call, “we will remove Hunt from approximately 125 additional Dick’s stores in 2019 where the category underperforms.”
Dick’s defines the hunting category as rifles and ammunition, plus “accessories associated with firearms, hunting apparel, anything associated with hunting,” Dick’s president Lauren Hobart clarified later on the call. “It would not include kayaks and other outdoor activities like that.”
Dick’s entered the national political conversation one year ago when it stopped selling assault-style rifles in all 35 of its Field & Stream stores following the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. It also immediately raised the minimum age to 21 for anyone buying guns in its stores.
Dick’s has seen same-store-sales declines since then, and some have blamed that on politics, but Dick’s stock is up 10% since that move, and up 12% in 2019 so far.
On Tuesday’s call, Dick’s signaled that the Field & Stream brand may soon go away. “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.”
Read more here.
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