Last Christmas many Dick’s customers were sent one mean lump of coal in the form of a gift certificate. All customers who pre-ordered a Troy Carbine from Dick’s for their Black Friday special had their orders cancelled and their money returned.
Following the Newtown shooting spree, Dick’s Sporting Goods changed their policy and stopped selling AR-pattern and other semi-automatic, magazine-fed rifles, even the guns they had already sold.
If there’s a silver lining for all the people who were eagerly waiting for that Troy Carbine and were vastly dissappointed, it’s that Dick’s isn’t doing so well in the financial department.
At a time where the only thing a company has to do to sell firearms, ammo and accessories is to unlock their doors, Dick’s sales have flat-lined. In fact, their sales dropped 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to 2011 and their shares 10 percent in the last quarter.
Dick’s CEO pointed his finger squarely at, well, Lance Armstrong. “People had a very negative reaction to the Livestrong brand,” he said at an earnings report.
Lance Armstrong recently confessed that he trafficked and used steroids, giving in to allegations of doping starting in 2004. His line of Livestrong goods makes up for half of Dick’s elliptical and trainer apparel.
Dick’s denied that their sales were low because of the store’s gun policy, instead they pointed the finger at the ammunition shortage.
But other sporting goods stores are not feeling the pinch despite the ammo drought. In fact, Cabela’s is doing better than ever and investors have been quick to point out that it’s because of their strong gun sales.
“Cabela’s Inc. stock closed up more than 16 percent, among leading gainers on the New York Stock Exchange, and hit a 52-week high Thursday after reporting strong financial results above the market’s and the company’s expectations.”
Gun sales accounted for almost two-thirds of Cabela’s gains, with their sales up by 24 percent over last year.
“First-quarter results exceeded our expectations on every line of the income statement,” said Cabela’s Tommy Millner. “In addition to expected increases in firearms and ammunition sales, we saw particularly strong performance in softgoods and footwear.”
Still, some analysts believe Cabela’s firearms earning to be temporary, with the massive surge in the sales of everything gun-related expected to wane now that the bulk of federal gun control bills have failed to pass muster.
“Without firearms and ammunition, same-stores sales increased just 9 percent — still strong, but clearly much of Cabela’s growth was driven by gun buyers,” wrote Jeremy Bowman of the Motley Fool. “As the stock has now tripled in the past year and a half, investors may want to take a cue from their senators and sell while the stock is hot.”
We suspect it’s a bit early to start bailing on Cabela’s, that gun sales will stay strong for the coming months. What we can be sure on, however, is that while this boom is also a bubble, Dick’s failed to get in on much if any of it.