Dick’s Sporting Goods Shoots Company In Foot – Again

Dicks signage

In another move some may call “bone-headed”, the sporting goods giant announced plans to remove the hunting department from another 440 stores. As a result, hunting departments will exist in a mere 12 percent of Dick’s locations. Most of these locations are located in rural areas, according to an article in Retail Wire.

The recent move follows a series of anti-gun decisions including:

-banning the sale of guns to people under the age of 21

-banning the sale of AR-15s

-banning the sale of high-capacity magazines

“The decision, along with gun-control lobbying by Dick’s CEO Ed Stack and the destruction of $5 million in inventory as a message that such weapons should be outlawed, drew the ire of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and boycott threats from the hunting community, “ said the Retail Wire article.

The removal of the hunting departments will also include archery equipment, hunting apparel and accessories.

Calling the move a business decision, Dick’s CEO Ed Stack told analysts on his company’s fourth-quarter conference call that hunting was “probably the lowest turning, lowest margin category we have.”  Stack also claimed that the category also “declined significantly over the last couple of years,” although that’s because the arrival of a Republican presidential administration reduced panic-driven purchases as gun legislation became less of a concern.

The real question is, has the category [hunting] declined so much over the last couple of years to warrant closing the department, or has Dick’s lost market share because of its anti-gun moves resulting in consumers turning to other outfitters?

As analysts expressed concern that Dick’s will look too much like a department store, the CEO saw opportunities to better reach the “female athlete” and expand golf and team sports such as soccer.


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