Sunday, 16 Dec 2018

Frigid Gun Owner Response Makes Dick’s Sales Go Soft

Frigid Gun Owner Response Makes Dick’s Sales Go Soft



Dick’s Sporting Goods just had its third-quarter earnings call – same store sales were down 3.9 percent. If you follow conservative media, this was because of its move to enact self-imposed regulations on gun sales. If you follow the mainstream media, this was not because of its move to enact self-imposed regulations on gun sales.

However, the company’s CFO, Lee Belitsky, told investors in the Q3 earnings call that “strategic decisions” made by the company regarding firearms earlier in the year, like raising the minimum age for gun purchases, contributed to a decline in sales. He said there were “double-digit” declines in the hunting and electronics departments, which, again, added up to a nearly 4% decline in same-store sales.

That’s a significant drag on sales, even if the company also tried to package it as an overall decline in NICS background checks for firearms. Tellingly, they didn’t try to say that their sales decline matched a percentage decline in NICS checks, nor did they give us any information on the hunting department decline other than “double-digit.” Despite efforts to engage in rhetorical fluffery, the sales decline is clearly linked to their new gun policies.

That this happened in the third quarter, when hunting season is in full swing, is even more significant. Hunters should be stopping in to buy not only rifles and shotguns but new optics, ammunition, outdoor gear, and clothing. It will be telling if this decline continues into the fourth quarter as the hunting season marches on.

What does this mean? Well, look, it’s not like Dick’s is going to experience complete dysfunction because of this decision. They will continue to do business and sell things and make money – but they will make less money than they would have if they had not made “strategic decisions” regarding firearms. Other retailers are most likely watching and listening to see how this affects Dick’s. It should be noted, though, that Dick’s knew they were castrating their future sales numbers when they enacted the policy. Perhaps they weren’t concerned with the size of Dick’s sales, but their investors probably are.

Personally, I used to spend probably around $100-200 per year at Dick’s buying workout equipment and making last-minute stops for ammo before hitting the range. Those visits have ceased, and I think I’m not alone in my elephant-like memory of anti-gun stances by gun retailers – after all, I alone did not cause a “double-digit” decline in hunting sales. However, I think I’m just the tip of the iceberg, and I don’t think Dick’s will be scoring with gun owners as frequently as they once did.

To me, it’s perfectly fine if Dick’s ejects the entire hunting department from all its stores. That way, customers needing firearms, ammunition, and accessories will spend their dollars with companies who aren’t acting against their rights.

The post Frigid Gun Owner Response Makes Dick’s Sales Go Soft appeared first on Omaha Outdoors.

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