Dick’s Sporting Goods said this week it will begin pulling hunting products from 10 stores later this year.
Chief Executive Officer Ed Stack told investors Wednesday the category hurt the retailer’s bottom line in its second quarter ending July 29 — accounting for nearly half of its 4 percent decline in same store sales.
“Later this quarter, we will remove virtually all of the hunt products from 10 Dick’s stores with the category with significant under performance and replace it with products and in-store experiences that are most relevant to our athletes in those markets,” he said.
It’s unclear which stores will undergo the changes, though top executives admitted a combination of “strategic decisions” and a long overdue shift in demand post-election meant the retailer’s gun sales were bound to take a hit.
“I mean right after the election, you go back and take a look at others in this industry that were public, or the manufacturers, and the quarter or so after the election, those businesses started to have a problem,” Stack said. “So we’ve seen this coming on the gun piece.”
Dick’s “strategic decisions” regarding its hunting category likely references the retailer’s decision to implement gun regulations stricter than federal law in the days following the Parkland massacre. Stack’s corporate activism inspired a wave of retailers — including Kroger, L.L. Bean and Walmart — to voluntarily implement age restrictions on gun sales. Stack also announced he would discontinue modern sporting rifles at three dozen Field & Stream locations and destroy the remaining inventory.
Stack’s decision to hire a Washington-based gun control lobbying firm in May, however, forced the National Shooting Sports Foundation to expel the retailer as one of its 13,000 members. Gun manufacturers — including Mossberg, Hogue, MKS and Springfield Armory — soon cut ties with Dick’s over its shifting views.
Still, Stack told investors in May the policies changed nothing about sales in the first quarter and seemingly shrugged off the company’s soured relationships within the gun industry. The optimism continued Wednesday with executives insisting regaining losses in its hunting category will prove easy based on the strength of Dick’s other merchandise.
“We are executing our strategies to better navigate the dynamic retail environment and ensure the long-term success of Dick’s Sporting Goods,” Stack said. “We remain extremely confident and are upbeat about the future of our company.”