Actions have consequences, and it turns out that giving the proverbial middle finger to millions of law-abiding American citizens isn’t the best business plan.
That’s what Dick’s Sporting Goods is finding out, after a dismal earnings report was released by the company.
The retail giant made headlines after it announced several anti-gun decisions earlier this year, and it seems those moves are taking a chunk out of the company’s bottom line.
After the Parkland school shooting in February, Dick’s declared it would no longer sell AR-15 style rifles to the public, even though background checks are used for all in-store gun sales.
The retailer also announced it would refuse to sell any firearms — not only AR-15s — to people under the age of 21, even if those sales were perfectly legal and the customers were 100-percent law abiding.
That anti-gun virtue signaling was roundly mocked by pro-Second Amendment groups and competing gun stores, who pointed out that the change wouldn’t have prevented the Florida tragedy but seemed meant only for attention. The fact that Dick’s also hired anti-gun lobbyists didn’t help.
Several major firearms companies, including Springfield Armory and Mossberg, responded by ending their business dealings with the sporting goods store. Many pro-gun Americans similarly boycotted Dick’s and took their hard-earned money elsewhere.
It had an impact. The company admitted “a decision to pull back from the hunting business dragged on the retailer’s latest quarterly results,” reported The Wall Street Journal.
Sales are down 4 percent from where they were expected to be for this quarter. That may not seem like a lot, but Dick’s is now falling behind while other retailers are springing ahead in a strong economy.
“The weaker-than-expected results bucked a trend in the retail sector, which largely has benefited from a surge in consumer spending fueled by a booming economy,” reported WSJ.
“Consumer confidence for August, measured by the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index, was the highest its been in about 18 years,” the report said.
“That sentiment, along with other factors, has powered companies such as Walmart Inc. and Target Corp. to their best quarterly results in more than a decade,” the newspaper said.
Company officials didn’t pin all of their troubles on the gun decision. A change in the business relationship with UnderArmor was also blamed for the less-than-stellar sales.
Dick’s gave no indication it would reverse course on firearms. Instead, CEO Edward Stack said he hoped sports items like baseball equipment would pick up the slack.
To be clear, the retail company is absolutely free to do business however it wishes. If it wants to only sell lacrosse sticks and quidditch brooms, that’s their call … but they have to face the fallout of their decisions.
Hunting and shooting sports are a big part of American culture. A sporting goods store that thumbs its nose to a huge swath of the buying public is just asking to feel it in the pocketbook — and now they are.
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