Dick's Discovers That Being A Dick Can Be Costly

Back in February, shortly after the Parkland high school shooting, big box sporting goods retailer, Dick’s Sporting Goods, caved into pressure by David Hogg and his posse and announced that Dick’s and its subsidiary chain, Field and Stream, would no longer carry “assault rifles” or high capacity magazines and they would no longer sell firearms to anyone under 21.


On Wednesday, second quarter financials were released and they weren’t all that good. Dick’s earnings were off by 4% (I was tempted to make a circumcision joke, but resisted) and stock value fell by 9.5%.

People anxious to validate Dick’s decision are quick to claim that the major factor was the decision by clothing manufacturer Under Armour to expand their distribution network from a handful of stores, like Dick’s, to department stores. I’m sure that contributed somewhat, but Dick’s is not just a clothing store, they don’t carry Under Armour as an exclusive brand, and they really don’t give Under Armour a premium location in the store.

This is what CEO Ed Stack said:

“As expected, sales were impacted by the strategic decisions we made regarding the slow growth, low margin hunt and electronics businesses, which accounted for nearly half of our comp decline. In addition, we experienced continued significant declines in Under Armour sales as a result of their decision to expand distribution.”

As Daily Signal points out:

At the time, the company admitted they believed the move could hurt sales, but said that they hoped the change would attract a new breed of Dick’s customer.

In a market as competitive as sporting goods, it is difficult to imagine a corporate board saying “sure, let’s just tell gun owners to take a hike because we’d rather go out an find brand new customers than deal with those neanderthals.” But that’s the story. As sales show, it is highly unlikely that anyone cheering on the decision to curtail gun sales actually started shopping at Dick’s or Field and Stream based on that decision. On the other hand, it is very likely that people, like myself, who have kids in sports stopped buying anything from Dick’s. I imagine that a lot of folks who used to shop at Field and Stream have moved to a different sporting goods store.


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