Dick's Sales Might Be Up, But Hunting Sales Are Down

Last week, Dick’s Sporting Goods announced that despite the attempt at a boycott by gun rights activists who disagreed with the company’s stances on firearms, sales were up. However, it seems that those sales were only part of the picture.

What we actually see is that Dick’s may have had an uptick in sales, but not among gun related items like hunting merchandise.

“These areas of strength, however, were offset by declines in our hunt and electronic businesses,” said Dick’s Chief Financial Officer Lee J. Belitsky on a call with investors. “As expected, our firearms policy changes impacted our hunt business which saw an accelerated decline in an already challenged category.”

Edward Stack, Dick’s CEO and Virtue Signaler in Chief (VSC), echoed Belitsky’s analysis.

“And the hunt business we expect, based on our firearm policy, it’s going to continue to be challenged through the balance of the year,” he said.

Belitsky’s characterization of hunting and firearms as an “already challenged category” alludes to the recent decline in firearm sales post-Obama. That would be a convenient excuse, except that gun-related background checks set records in both March and April. Sportsman’s Warehouse also reported a 14.9% increase in same-store firearm unit sales as well as a 17.5% increase in a same-store sales basis for the first quarter of 2018.

This news means that yes, Dick’s felt the shock of the boycott, but it was mitigated by increases elsewhere.

I maintain that this increase was a short-term boost driven largely by anti-gunners desperate to counter the boycott by gun rights advocates. I also maintain that it’s not sustainable.

I think Dick’s knows this, too. Despite the evidence it had to have been seeing internally, the company still hired lobbyists to push for a federal ban on the very same guns it vowed to remove completely from its stores. This sounds like it knows what is driving these sales and it’s not expecting it to last.

And it shouldn’t.

Anti-gunners are pouring through the doors–either in physical space or the internet–and making all of their purchases through Dick’s to prove a point. That will fade as it always does. Their outrage and anger will be redirected at some other target, some other shiny object, and they’ll forget all about Dick’s.

Meanwhile, the gun rights advocates are unlikely to forget any time soon how Dick’s treated them and what it’s pushing to do with its revenue, namely restrict our rights through legislation. That means no revenue from those folks at all. Not just on guns and hunting merchandise, but no weight sets or tennis rackets either.

Dick’s will feel that once the shine rubs off of it with their temporary allies.

At least, that’s my feelings on the subject.

I admit I could be very wrong. It’s possible that there aren’t enough of us to make a huge difference in the grand scheme of things. There are probably countless possibilities I can’t even imagine. In the end, it doesn’t really matter.

What matters, however, is that Dick’s can’t deny the impact of its decision.