Dick’s Sporting Goods shot itself in one of the major sectors of its business when it embraced gun control, company officials said recently in a call to discuss the chain’s first quarter earnings.
After the school shooting that took place in February in Parkland, Florida, the chain announced it would stop selling AR-15 rifles and some types of magazines. It later announced in April it would destroy all unsold AR-15s, according to Fox News.
“As expected, our firearms policy changes impacted our hunt business, which saw an accelerated decline in an already challenged category. We expect these businesses to remain under significant pressure throughout the remainder of the year,” Dick’s CFO Lee Belitsky said during the call, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
Dick’s and Mossberg are severing their relationship, company officials said during the call.
“We don’t have the best relationship with the firearms manufacturers right now,” Belitsky also said, according to Business Insider.
CEO Edward Stack said a recovery for the company in the shooting sports sector is not likely soon.
“We expect, based on our firearms policy, it’s going to continue to be challenged through the balance of the year,” he said. “We don’t see a big change.”
Stack said that if customers do not want to come to Dick’s for their guns, they may get out of the firearms business altogether, but told a caller who asked about the future that nothing was cast in stone.
“That depends on a lot of things that have to be determined yet,” he said. “That is how the business plays out, how the manufacturers decide they want to do business together. There’s a number of things that are yet to be determined. The one thing we do know is that it will continue to be challenged.”
Stack preferred to point to what he called the benefits of the new policy, which has included supporting pro-gun control lobbyists.
“There’s been a number of people who have started shopping us, or said they’re going to shop us more, because of the policy,” he said, according to CNN. “There’s definitely been some benefit of people who joined us, so to speak, because of the policy.”
Stack said the company projects 2018 earnings will be in the range of $2.92 to $3.12 earnings per share, up from $2.80 to $3. Although he said online sales jumped 24 percent, he also noted that same-store sales fell 2.5 percent in the first quarter of 2018.
During the call, Stack dismissed the company’s expulsion from the National Shooting Sports Federation as “really not that big of a deal.”
But Dick’s actions still rankle the NSSF.
“They went beyond simply making decisions for their own company and are trying to impose their view and their decisions on other companies in the industry by hiring a lobbyist to lobby for gun control,” said Larry Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel.
“The CEO of Dick’s, which owns ‘Field and Stream,’ is on the record as saying he wants to see a ban on modern sporting rifles, he wants to see restrictions on magazines, and also wants to see an unconstitutional restriction on the ability of young adults to purchase any firearm.”
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