Date: March 13th, 2018 4:01 PM
Author: Non sequitur
Dick’s Says Firearms Restrictions Turned Away Some Customers
Sporting-goods retailer reported higher quarterly profit, but said it expects heightened challenges this year
Dick's Sporting Goods said it was surprised by the ’outpouring of support’ for its new gun policies but also said that some customers were choosing to shop elsewhere.
Dick's Sporting Goods said it was surprised by the ’outpouring of support’ for its new gun policies but also said that some customers were choosing to shop elsewhere. PHOTO: ROGELIO V. SOLIS/ASSOCIATED PRESS
By Austen Hufford
March 13, 2018 1:30 p.m. ET
Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. DKS 0.99% said its decision to no longer sell guns to anyone under 21 years old has hurt traffic and retail sales as the move upset some customers and exacerbated headwinds to its hunting and gun business.
Last month, after a Parkland, Fla., high-school shooting left 17 people dead, Dick’s and Walmart Inc. WMT 0.31% were among retailers that announced age restrictions on gun sales.
Tuesday, Dick’s said it was surprised by the “outpouring of support” for its new gun policies but also said that some customers were choosing to shop elsewhere.
“Some of those customers that buy firearms, buy other things also,” Dick’s Chief Executive Edward Stack told analysts on a conference call. “There are just going to be some people who just don’t shop us anymore for anything.”
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Under current law, licensed gun dealers can sell a handgun to someone 21 years old and sell a rifle to someone who is 18. President Donald Trump initially seemed open to raising the age limit for rifle sales, but a plan from his administration to reduce gun violence instead called for funding to train school staffers to carry guns. The plan also called to create a federal panel to study age restrictions and other potential changes in laws and to make recommendations later.
Dick’s said it was hurt by weak overall demand for guns, which impacted both competitors and suppliers. Gun maker Remington Outdoor Co. is planning to file for bankruptcy protection as early as next week as it built capacity when gun sales were soaring but sales dropped after Mr. Trump took office. Earlier this month, American Outdoor Brands Corp. forecast weak firearm sales for at least a year, becoming the latest gun maker to report disappointing quarterly results.
Dick’s said its hunting business posted negative comparable-store sales and expects the challenges to continue this year, with its new gun policies being an additional burden.
In the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 people dead, student survivors have started a movement for greater gun control. Two students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School explain how social media, crowdfunding and political activism have helped spread their message. Photo: Getty Images
Shares fell 2.5% in midday trading Tuesday as the company reported a comparable-store sales decline of 2% in its latest quarter. Analysts polled by Consensus Metrix had expected a 1.2% decline.
Fourth-quarter revenue rose 7.3% to $2.66 billion, which included an extra week compared with the same period a year earlier.
Dick’s earned a profit of $116 million, or $1.11 a share, compared with $90.2 million, or 81 cents a share, in the same period a year before. On an adjusted basis, earnings per share came in at $1.22, more than the $1.20 expected from analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
Dick’s also said it would devote less store space to selling electronic fitness trackers, as margins and sales continue to fall in the market for those products.