You likely recall the brouhaha that erupted after Dick’s Sporting Goods decided to “take action on gun violence” by ending sales of certain types of rifles and raising the minimum age for gun purchases to 21. They didn’t just get rid of their “assault rifles” either… they destroyed them. At the time, I noted that such a decision didn’t sound like it was particularly conducive to profitable operations and happy stockholders. Turns out that those chickens may have come home to roost. As the Daily Wire reports, sales are lagging at their Field & Stream stores and the company is admitting that their poor numbers are at least in part related to their decisions regarding firearms sales.
Dick’s Sporting Goods is warning investors that its decision to remove certain “assault-style” weapons from its Field & Stream stores cost it dearly and may limit its future gains.
The sporting goods retailer was forced to confront angry shareholders late last week after its stocks tanked more than 4.5% and financial conglomerate J.P. Morgan Chase downgraded Dick’s shares, saying the company was “overweight.”
“Gross margin-driven upside appears less probable given 3Q’s performance, changing comparisons, and rising inventory levels,” an analyst for J.P. Morgan told CNBC. The same analyst noted that same-store sales for Dick’s outlets are expected to grow less than 1% even as the company’s inventory rises.
While warning shareholders of the poor numbers about to be released, Lee Bolitsky, Dick’s chief financial officer, came straight out and said “the strategic decisions we made regarding firearms earlier this year” were part of the problem. At the same time, he noted that gun sales for all retailers across the country were down, and that can be attributed to Donald Trump.
Normally, the kneejerk reaction to “blame Trump” for everything deserves some scrutiny. But in this case, both of the things Bolitsky is saying can be true at the same time. There’s obviously been some backlash from the hunting community and that’s depressing their sales numbers. But it’s also valid to point out that people tend to stock up on firearms and ammunition when Democrats control the government and begin talking about gun bans. When the guy (or gal) in the White House is an avid defender of the Second Amendment, that sense of urgency is no longer felt.
Keep in mind that Dick’s is already facing a couple of lawsuits filed by 18-year-olds who claim that their policy constitutes age discrimination. Neither of them has made it all the way through the legal process yet, but that’s another set of headlines coming their way that they probably don’t need.