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Dick’s Sporting Goods might remove all hunting gear from its stores after ‘assault’ rifle ban

Dick's Sporting Goods, Manchester, CT., July 2014. (Mike Mozart/TheToyChannel/Flickr)
December 03, 2018

The retailer Dick’s Sporting Goods is reportedly considering axing all hunting gear from its stores.

Dick’s CEO Edward Stack said during a conference call on Wednesday that the company proceeded with a test run involving 10 stores in which they removed all hunting gear, according to Fortune Magazine.

The 10 stores reportedly experienced unsatisfactory sales of hunting gear, prompting the decision to remove it and replace it with sporting gear, such as outerwear, baseball gear and licensed goods.

The test run has reported yielded positive results, but the company has not yet decided on a full-scale removal in all 732 of its stores.

“Though it’s too early to discuss performance, we’re optimistic these changes will better serve the athletes in these communities,” Stack said, according to the Journal Sentinel

“We’ll have to wait and see how the 10-store test does,” Stack added.

He added that the company will put a greater focus on key products, as well as optimal product assortments that better serve athletic enthusiasts.

Dick’s originally stopped selling semi-automatic sporting rifles after the Newton, Conn. shooting in 2012. The sporting rifles remained available in 35 Field & Stream stores, a division of Dick’s retail stores that offer hunting and outdoor products.

However, in February, Dick’s stopped selling the sporting rifles entirely after the Parkland, Fla. shooting that created a fervor against “assault rifles.” The company also stopped selling all guns and high-capacity magazines to anyone under the age of 21.

Stack said he was prompted to make the decision upon learning that months before the shooting, the Parkland shooter purchased a shotgun from a Dick’s store. Although he did not use the shotgun, Stack said the potential for its use in the massacre urged him to take action.

As a result, the company’s sales have been in decline. Last quarter, the company experienced a 4.5-percent drop in sales to $1.86 billion.

“Specific to hunt, in addition to the strategic decisions made regarding firearms earlier this year, sales continued to be negatively impacted by double-digit declines in hunt and electronics,” said Chief Financial Officer Lee Belitsky.

Belitsky added, “The broader industry has decelerated and remains weak, as evidenced by most recent national background check data.”

He noted that the state of the industry contributed to the sales decline.

Stack, however, insists the numbers are soon to change with the market.

In August, the company said it predicted the decline in sales due to pressure over the gun sales policy, the New York Post had reported. They claimed that the change increased the number of new customers to their stores.