Dick’s Sporting Goods is opening up a new store in Cranberry, Penn., called Field & Stream. The new store will focus on hunting and fishing and carry firearms, most notably, AR-15 rifles.
Dick’s made headlines when, as a response to the violence at Sandy Hook Elementary, pulled magazine-fed semi-automatic rifles from their shelves nation-wide.
Often called “modern sporting rifles” and simply “black rifles” these rifles and carbines were the target of national gun control efforts at the top of this year’s gun debate. And because of the use of one such rifle at Sandy Hook, Dick’s stopped selling them.
This came weeks after a Thanksgiving Day promotion where Dick’s partnered with Troy Industries to offer a high-value promotion on the special Troy Carbine, a semi-custom billet receiver AR-15 featuring premium aftermarket furniture, including a free-floating modular Alpha rail, Battle Ax CQB stock and grip, an enhanced trigger guard, Troy backup iron sights and a Claymore standoff device and muzzle brake.
These rifles were listed at just $800, an incredible deal even by last year’s standards. Dick’s customers, not to mention Troy Industries, were irate.
“Troy’s pricing to [Dick's Sporting Goods (DSG)] was based upon volume sales. It is unlikely that pricing to any other outlet in the future will support the pricing granted to DSG. Troy understands the anger of certain DSG customers whose purchases have been cancelled—you got a great price from DSG. However, Troy, itself, cannot come anywhere close to offering the Carbine at the price DSG was offering it.
“DSG devalued and diluted Troy’s brand when it offered for sale the Carbine at a steeply discounted price during Thanksgiving week. As a result of the sale price set by DSG, DSG over-sold and over-promised its inventory. Nonetheless, the current ill-will could have been avoided had DSG not terminated modern sporting rifle sales, promptly canceled over-promised orders, and forthrightly communicated with Troy.”
As an apology, Dick’s offered customers who pre-ordered the carbines a gift certificate for $100.
It was far from enough for the company, whose new policies were followed by a swift drop in sales and stocks.
At a time when stores could literally sell out their entire inventories on shooting supplies, guns, ammo and accessories, Dick’s business floundered.
Dick’s CEO Edward Stack blamed the stagnating business on none other than Lance Armstrong. “People had a very negative reaction to the Livestrong brand,” he said at an earnings report.
The Livestrong brand was established by Armstrong, which was almost universally forsaken when Armstrong admitted to cheating by doping in the Tour de France.
The Firearm Blog reports that the store is expected to be fat with guns and ammo when it opens on August 16.
“There are about 1.4 million rounds of .22 Long Rifle in storage for this store. Rumor is that $8 million worth of ammo is allocated to this store.
“What is incredibly interesting is that Field & Stream will be stocking modern sporting rifles (semi-automatic rifles). I can confirm that they will be selling Bushmaster AR-15 rifles (M4 ORC and others), Remington AR-15s (R15, R25), S&W AR-15s (M&P 15 Tactical and others) as well as Stag and DPMS AR-15s.”
Troy Industries issued a statement that they will not be working with Dick’s or its subsidiaries at this time, and if the story carries any Troy products it would have to be “backroom inventory.”
“Dick’s behavior during a time of crisis clearly shows they do not support the Second Amendment as we at Troy Industries do.”
The move to return to the world of black rifles is not a direct admission of defeat, however it is a smart business decision. Politics aside, Americans love guns and now is the time to sell them.
Still, we’re positive there has been damage done to the brand that may take years to restore, if at all possible. We’ve said it before, gun owners have very long memories.