Eager to prove themselves a socially-conscious member of The Resistance this year, Dick’s Sporting Goods announced in the wake of the Parkland, FL shooting that it would no longer be selling AR-15 style rifles at its chain of retail outlets throughout the United States. Additionally, it would follow in Wal-Mart’s footsteps by raising the minimum age to buy a gun at their stores to 21. Conservatives and gun-rights proponents were skeptical about what this might do to Dick’s business given the chain’s clientele, but the head honchos were confident that they could make up the gap in other areas. CEO Edward Stack actually said this summer that the decision to get tough on guns had actually brought the store a whole new swath of customers.
But according to the latest report to investors, those customers aren’t quite making up for the ones who walked away when Dick’s turned its back on the Second Amendment.
“Sales at Dick’s Sporting Goods dropped in the past three months amid backlash against tighter gun-sale restrictions following a mass killing early this year at a Florida high school,” reported the Washington Examiner. “Revenue dipped 4.5 percent to $1.86 billion amid challenges in the company’s hunting business during the quarter through Nov. 3. Sales at stores open at least 12 months – a key metric for the retail industry – fell 6.1 percent compared to the prior year.”
In an interview with USA Today, CFO Lee Bolitsky acknowledged that the store’s decision to abandon semi-automatic rifles played a part in their lagging sales growth, but said that wasn’t the only factor.
“In addition to the strategic decisions we made regarding firearms earlier this year, the broader industry has decelerated and remains weak as evidenced by most recent national background check data,” Bolitsky said. “We believe this also contributed to the decline.”
In other words, without an oppressive Obama administration breathing down the country’s neck, people don’t feel an immediate need to go out and start building an arsenal. This is a good thing, all around, but it does make things tough for the gun industry. Manufacturers often referred to President Obama as the best gun salesman the industry ever had.
But it probably doesn’t help when your store is among those retailers who seem to have bought hook, line, and sinker into the left’s anti-gun rhetoric. And in a retail environment where one slip can mean the difference between success and bankruptcy, Dick’s Sporting Goods may already regret wading into these choppy waters.