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Economy & Business

Dick’s CEO: Decline in Gun Sales May Force Closure of Field and Stream Stores

Dick’s Sporting Goods in Stroudsburg, Pa. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

The CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods told investors in September that gun-purchasing restrictions the company imposed earlier this year have negatively affected its sales to a point where it may be forced to close its Field & Stream outlets.

In remarks made to the Goldman Sachs Retailing Conference and first reported by the Washington Free Beacon, CEO Edward Stack explained that the 3.9 percent decline in the company’s sales during the third quarter could be partially attributed to its ban on the sale of assault-style rifles and on the sale of all firearms to customers under 21 years old — both of which were implemented in the wake of the Parkland shooting in February.

“Well I think it’s definitely a factor, and it’s nothing that we didn’t anticipate,” Stack said of the sales downturn during the call. “As we put out kind of our guidance for the year and our earnings guidance for the year, we knew this would happen when — we’ve made some decisions on firearms in the past and we’ve had a pretty good idea of what these consequences were going to be. We felt that was absolutely the right thing to do. We would do the same thing again if we had a mulligan, so to speak, to do it again.”

In addition to the firearm-purchasing restrictions, Dick’s also hired a number of Washington, D.C. lobbyists in May to advocate for more-stringent gun-control regulations. Taken together, the restrictions and the lobbying effort led the National Shooting Sports Foundation to expel Dick’s and caused a number of major gun manufacturers to sever ties with the retailer — developments that Stack admitted were detrimental to its third-quarter performance.

“So, we’ve had some vendors who’ve decided based on our decision to not sell the assault-style rifle that was used in the Parkland shooting that they wouldn’t sell us any longer,” Stack said. “So, as you know, there’s been some people who said we’re not going to sell you any firearms anymore. We’re not going to sell you our product. We’ve had some other people who’ve indicated that they wouldn’t shop with us any longer.”

While Stack’s comments regarding the decline in sales echoed remarks made last week by the company’s CFO, his admission that Dick’s may be forced to shutter 35 Field and Stream outlets nationwide marked a new development in the story.

“My sense is that we can either take a look at closing that store, that concept, or re-conceptualizing it into a more of an outdoor-type concept. And we’re taking a look at all of these things and by the end of . . . the third and the beginning of the fourth quarter and as we move into the end of the fourth quarter, we’ll make a decision as to what we’re going to do,” Stack said.

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