AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File
There’s a certain hypocrisy in Dick’s Sporting Goods looking to profit off of the very group it demonizes with its anti-gun stance, but that’s precisely what it’s been doing for the last year. On top of making a decision to not carry AR-15s in any of its stores–the company still carries them in their Field & Stream locations–it started working to lobby Congress to make it so no one else could sell them either.
With all its anti-gun nonsense, it started losing money. Now, it’s looking to get out of the gun game entirely.
After the Parkland shooting in February 2018, Dick’s Sporting Goods announced that it was making some big changes involving gun sales. The company imposed an age requirement of 21 for the purchase of a firearm, banned the sale of “assault rifles” at its subsidiary Field & Stream stores (it had already banned them from Dick’s years earlier), and banned “high capacity magazines” at all its stores. Within weeks, the company began to see a drop in sales, and in months the situation was bad enough for CEO Ed Stack to start openly blaming some of his company’s financial struggles on its high-profile gun control stance.
Amid continued financial struggles, including an 11% drop in shares Tuesday, Dick’s announced that it would stop selling firearms altogether at 125 of its 729 stores, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Stack announced the decision in a conference call Tuesday. The “gun-free” decision comes after a successful test in ten stores that had been underperforming in hunting sales, Stack explained. The company replaced guns and additional hunting gear with “higher-margin, faster-selling categories such as licensed sports gear and outdoor recreation equipment,” the Journal reports, and saw an increase in sales. That increase occurred while quarterly sales overall dropped 2.2%. The additional stores that will no longer sell firearms likewise underperform in the hunting category.
In other words, Dick’s recognized that it’d lost the gun crowd for good and are now having to adjust focus.
It probably figures, based on the test location, that it’s hard to boycott a gun store that’s no longer a gun store. Especially since it’s calling this a business decision.
Frankly, I think any business aspects to this call had more to do with providing cover for what CEO Ed Stack wanted to do all along. He’s shown his anti-gun stripes, and while he paid lip service to valuing the Second Amendment, we all know that was a steaming load of male bovine excrement. He values no such thing.
Don’t get me wrong, the successful test stores made it an easy decision for him to make. He had to be ready to tell stockholders that this wasn’t politics but business. They weren’t happy over the 14 percent drop in stock prices immediately following his post-Parkland decision. He had to know it was only a matter of time before they’d call for his head if he continued to put his personal politics above the bottom line.
However, Stack doesn’t realize that this changes nothing for any of us. So as far as I’m concerned, Dick’s doesn’t exist in any way, shape, or form except as story fodder. I know I’m not alone.
When the business sits on the ash heap of history, though, we’ll all know why.