NEWS: Dick’s Lost $150 Million Last Year Due to Restricting Gun Sales

Last February, when Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO Ed Stack announced he was restricting gun sales at the country’s largest sports retailer, he knew it’d be costly. At the time, Dick’s was a major seller of firearms. Guns also drove the sale of soft goods—boots, hats, jackets. Plus, Stack suspected the position could drive off some of his customers on political principle.

He was right. Dick’s estimates the policy change cost the company about $150 million in lost sales, an amount equivalent to 1.7 percent of annual revenue. Stack says it was worth it.

The 2018 school massacre at Parkland, Florida, touched a nerve for the company. Nikolas Cruz, the shooter, had legally purchased a shotgun from Dick’s a few months before the attack. A day after Cruz was arrested, police in Vermont apprehended a teenager with plans to shoot up his high school. He, too, had legally purchased a shotgun from Dick’s.

The two incidents were a last straw for Stack, a one-time Republican donor who in 35 years had turned his father’s bait-and-tackle shop into the country’s largest sports retailer. Two weeks after those arrests, Stack announced he was pulling assault-style rifles and high-capacity magazines out of all Dick’s stores. He vowed he’d never sell another firearm to anyone under 21.

The response was predictable. The National Rifle Association criticized his “strange business model.” The National Shooting Sports Foundation expelled Dick’s from its membership. Gun manufacturers like Mossberg refused to do business with him at all, and some shoppers followed suit.

What happened at Dick’s confirms new study results out of Stanford University. Respondents said they were more likely to buy a product to support a CEO’s political stance than they were to boycott in disagreement, but their actions revealed the opposite. When asked for specific examples, 69 percent could name a product they’d stopped buying, and only 21 percent could recall a product they started buying.

The stock price hasn’t suffered. Dick’s shares, which didn’t move much following the announcement last February, have climbed 14 percent in the 13 months since, outpacing the 4 percent rise in the benchmark Russell 3000 Index. On Friday, the company’s shares  rose as much as 0.6 percent in New York.

The 64-year-old Stack is an unlikely champion of gun reform. Earlier this decade, he helped Dick’s double-down on its outdoor roots, buying licensing rights to “Field & Stream” and launching both a private brand and a new series of stores dedicated partially to hunting. He’s a gun owner himself and insists he’s not anti-firearm, just in favor of what he likes to call “common-sense gun reform.”

No longer a go-to store for many gun-owners and hunters, Dick’s is now navigating its new reality. In August, the company announced it would remove hunting supplies and equipment entirely from 10 stores and use the space for team sports like baseball. Sales jumped in the test stores, and the company will implement the change in 125 additional stores, about 17 percent of the total fleet. After a dip in the last 12 months, the company expects same-store sales to be flat or rise a little.

To be fair, guns were a shrinking part of Dick’s business before Stack changed the company policy. And annual firearm sales nationwide have dropped almost 17 percent since 2016, according to research firm Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting. Parts of Dick’s policy have been matched by others, including Walmart and Kroger-owned Fred Meyer, neither of which faced similar outcry or anger.

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Subscriber Comments

Comment by:

dicks will NEVER see a penny of my money. Period. From the start, they`ve been anti-gun. They`ve never sold handguns, because they believe firearms to be a problem, but their anti-gun bias wasn`t even enough to keep them from making a buck off longarms, until they decided their anti-gun views were somehow morally superior to our beloved Constitution. I would LOVE to them go under and have to shut their doors for good.

Comment by:

I would go barefoot before buying shoes that comes from Dicks.... They have my one finger salute

Comment by:

As I recall seeing on the evening news rioters carrying baseball bats. Dick's going to suppress sales? What the idiot tried to do was change the law without the legislature - and hoped others would follow. If I recall correctly Dick[heads] are going to stop selling ammunition as well. Fine. Sell over priced athletic apparel and shoes. Thanks to their corporate stupidity my favorite gun store owner has had a boom in business - great for him!

Comment by:

There are tears in my eyes as I think about what has happened to Dick's... No, wait... those tears are from laughing at what happened to an anti-gun campaign that came back to bite them on the @$$. May they flounder and go under. I will have more tears for them then. (I will still be laughing.)

Comment by:

GOOD RIDANCE Dicks has been anti gun for years. I wen in to buy two ruger 10-22 for a Gatling gun conversion. at first the salesman questioned me for a few min about the sale of two guns. then I started to fill out the FORM and as I was finishing he took it away from me and took my id and left. he cam back with the manager and proclaimed dicks will not sell to me because I falsified my FORM and that they had called the local cops to arrest me. Soooo knowing I did nothing wrong I waited for 1.5 hours for the cops to show up. (they held my id for hostage so I could not leave) when the cops showed up they were ushered into a back room so I could not hear what was being said. one of the cops came out and asked me what happened I told him what happened. he left and went back behind the doors. a few min later the cops came out and said did I fill out this form I said yes. he then told me that the 4 looked like a 9 and I would have to redo the form. I was ok with that. and the police left. when the manager came back out he informed me that I am banned forever from dicks sporting goods. i asked for my id and he handed me my id. I left and drove across town and bought the guns from a different Dicks. (the guns had to be transferred from the other store )
with this being said I don't go to Dicks anymore. The dicks stores are trying to tell people what they can and can't buy. I hope they lose there shirts on not selling guns. which is good for the smaller gun shops. SUPPORT YOU LOCAL GUN SHOP.

Comment by:

Received a 20% off coupon for the worst outdoor store dickheads, they sell KEL TEC PMR30 but they don’t sell ammunition for it. So now I have a price of paper to start a fire ? with. So save those Dickhead adds you get in the mail you never know when you might need to start a fire.

Comment by:

All you need to know about this article is that it came from Bloomberg News. Bloomberg is a rabid anti gunner. Any article from his news service will be biased in favor of gun control and favoring gun access restriction. As for me, there is no way I would purchase anything from Dick's. The CEO made his decision, and I just do not agree with it. I purchase ammunition, gun cleaning items and an occasional AR-15 accessory. Now that Dick's is discontinuing these items there is nothing for me in thier store. Guess I will stick to Cabellas.

Comment by:

All you need to know about this article is that it came from Bloomberg News. Bloomberg is a rabid anti gunner. Any article from his news service will be biased in favor of gun control and favoring gun access restriction. As for me, there is no way I would purchase anything from Dick's. The CEO made his decision, and I just do not agree with it. I purchase ammunition, gun cleaning items and an occasional AR-15 accessory. Now that Dick's is discontinuing these items there is nothing for me in thier store. Guess I will stick to Cabellas.

Comment by:
mount nebo

Hey, Mr Ed, I am the bearer of bad tidings. The city I live in doesn't need another sneaker and spandex clothing store. Close your doors and admit defeat, you loser.

Comment by:

Real men don't like Dick's.

Comment by:

I must admit to being confused on the posting of this article. It seems to be a pro gun control article and originally appeared in a liberal website. The CEO of Dick's seems to be okay with the loss of revenue in taking the steps that he has taken. For me, I have never shopped Dicks (we got our first one in Mobile, Alabama a year ago) and don't plan on going to it. We have 2 Academy Sports that has a good selection of firearms as well as a Bass Pro Shop across the bay in Daphne that has a good selection as well.

Comment by:

We don't have a dick's close , so I dont really shop there anyway. I have noticed our two wal mart stores have been cutting down shelf space on guns and ammo. I feel like they will also quit selling at some point.
Other than the occasional clearance item at sporto's or cal ranch I buy primary online as well.
My concern is handloading supplies and restrictions on powders and primers that are being talked about.

Comment by:
James Kelly

I, too would be pleased to hear of Dick's financial problems related to dropping semi-autos. But I'd suggest caution before gloating too much. Seems to me that hunting is not a growth market. It is still possible that Dick's may profit by replacing firearms with more popular items.
Me, I now shop only at Dunham's or my very local (4 blocks away) gun shop, Jerry's, in Rochester, MI.

Comment by:

I've shopped at Dick's in the past mainly because it was a new store in town but it seemed like they were more of a sports goods store i.e. baseball, basketball, football, running, then a sporting goods store i.e. hunting, fishing, shooting. So being a hunter / sportsman I shop more at Cabelas, or local hunting and fishing stores.I probably haven't set foot in Dick's in 15 years so for them to stop selling guns and hunting gear isn't going to affect me anyway.

Comment by:

Dick's and its' CEO have the right to make stances like this. However, the "outdoor, hunting, and fishing" community generally are committed to gun ownership and gun rights. That is an awful huge chunk to purposely cut out of your customer base. I predict that Dick's wont be in business in 10 years or will have changed ownership in a buyout due to a failing business.

Comment by:

I certainly wouldn't buy anything from Dick's, but to be fair I never did before they sold out to the Liberals. Stores like Dick's and Gander Mountain (whatever it's called now) are over priced and generally have limited selections of guns and shooting supplies. I tend to do all my shooting and outdoors shopping on-line from places like Sportsman's Guide, Brownells, J&G Sales and a long list of others. I sure never by ammo in a store except for the occasional box of .22s from Walmart. It's more fun to relax at home and brows print and online catalogs, place my order, and have it delivered to my door in a couple of days at a better price than Dick's would ever give me.

Comment by:

Dick's chain of stores had better invest in a candy store franchising in New York City. There could be a few in California too. Myself and my friends have distanced ourselves from Dick's. There are more, and better, outdoor stores. Changing merchandise on misguided rhetoric makes no cents. None of my arms have left the home, loaded themselves, and massacred a bunch of people. It's like comparing a car, instead of the drunken driver, to a car accident.

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