News and Commentary

Dick’s CEO Ramps Up Gun Control Push As Company Suffers ‘Deeper-Than-Expected’ Losses

Despite acknowledging on CNN last week that his decision to embrace the gun control movement will result in “people who don’t shop us anymore for anything,” Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO Edward Stack entrenched his company even further in the divisive debate this week by penning an op-ed for The Washington Post in which he called on Congress “to do something about guns.”

“As a gun owner, I support the Second Amendment and understand why, for many, the right to bear arms is as American as baseball and apple pie,” he wrote. “But I also agree with what Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in his majority opinion in 2008’s landmark Heller case: ‘Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.’ It is ‘not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.'”

“It is clear we have a problem with the gun laws in this country. They are not squarely focused on keeping all of us safe — especially our children,” he continued. “There continue to be mass shootings — at our schools, churches and entertainment venues. Following each of these senseless, tragic events there’s a great deal of idle, fruitless talk in the halls of Congress, and then the conversation quickly comes to an end.”

Stack’s op-ed comes amid troubling financial reports for his sporting goods franchise. As highlighted by Fortune last week, Dick’s is seeing a “deeper-than-expected” slow-down in sales basically across the board. Though Fortune stresses that it’s not gun sales that are really hurting the company, citing competition from online vendors as the key problem, it acknowledges that the company’s very public gun control stance is coloring consumers’ perspective.

“Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. has vowed to limits sales of guns. Its problem, however, is poor sales of everything else,” Fortune reports. “Only weeks after winning accolades from gun-control advocates for ending sales of assault rifles at its Field & Stream stores, Dick’s posted a deeper-than-expected sales decline. Its stock sank the most in four months Tuesday in the wake of the quarterly report, which reflected struggles with excess inventory and deep discounting.”

So how bad are the numbers?

Shares of Dick’s fell as much as 7.3 percent to $30.19 in New York, the biggest intraday decline since mid-November. They had climbed 13 percent this year through Monday’s close. … Same-store sales, a key metric, fell 2 percent in the period. Analysts had estimated a drop of 1.2 percent, according to Consensus Metrix. E-commerce sales rose 9 percent.

Interviewed by CNN last week about his company’s struggles, Stack said, “There’s going to be some pushback and we expected that. There are going to be the people who don’t shop us anymore for anything.” Limiting gun sales beyond legal limits is “not going to be positive from a traffic standpoint and a sales standpoint,” he admitted.

After the horrific shooting at a Parkland high school last month, Dick’s announced that it was going to stop selling “assault-style” rifles at its Field & Stream stores (it had already stopped selling them at its main stores years ago) and was raising its age restrictions for all firearms to 21. The latter change has already been met with a legal challenge from a 20-year-old in Oregon.

Here were the public statements Dick’s issued at the time:

H/T Guns America

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