Dick’s Sporting Goods Will Dump Its Hunting Category, Including Hunting Rifles

Dick's Sporting Goods set to phase out its hunting category just over a year after electing to no longer sell AR-15-style rifles.

Dick’s Sporting Goods Will Dump Its Hunting Category, Including Hunting Rifles

Photo:Windyshadow32, Creative Commons (Wikipedia)

In a story that made headlines last week, Dick’s Sporting Goods was reported to be removing hunting rifles from 125 stores. This news comes on the heels of its February 2018 decision by the sporting goods retailer to no longer sell AR-15-style rifles.

However, though the narrative suggest Dick’s Sporting Goods is focused on the removal of hunting rifles, further details indicate that all hunting goods have failed to turn a profit for the retail chain headquartered in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania and are expected to be removed from product offerings.

According to Yahoo! Finance, the hunting category is being phased out along with the stores’ Reebok category.

“Last year, Dick’s removed hunting items from 10 stores where it underperformed,” Yahoo! reported. “After the removal, those stores generated positive comp sales in Q4. 'Following this success,' Dick’s CEO Ed Stack said on the Q4 earnings call, 'we will remove Hunt from approximately 125 additional Dick's stores in 2019 where the category underperforms.’” 

While some U.S. retailers are phasing out their firearms categories, the Trump administration has made it easier for U.S. firearm manufacturers to sell firearms overseas. Photo: iStock
While some U.S. retailers are phasing out their firearms categories, the Trump administration has made it easier for U.S. firearm manufacturers to sell firearms overseas. Photo: iStock

Dick’s hunting category includes not only hunting rifles, but also ammunition, firearm accessories and hunting apparel. Dick’s Field & Stream brand may also be phased out. “'We're not sure exactly what we're going to do with it,’” said Stack in a media conference call with Yahoo! and other news sources. “’We're not opening any new Field & Stream stores. And right now, on a formal basis they're cash flow positive and they're not a drain on the company.’” 

While consumers who hunt may miss Dick’s Field & Stream brand, its possible demise is welcoming news for many brands endemic to the hunting industry that were forced to compete with the store's in-house hunting brand.  

Dick’s released its 2018 Q4 earning report last week and stocks outperformed expectations, but same-store-sales were down. Same-store-sales began trending downward after the retail chain ended the sale of sporting rifles such as the AR-15. Some analysts have blamed the decline on this decision, which was made in response to the Parkland, Florida school shootings. However, the company’s stock is up 10 percent since February 2018 when the decision was made and up 12 percent so far in 2019.

The Parkland, Florida, school shootings also marked changes in gun-sales policies for other outdoor retailers including Fred Meyer and Walmart. Fred Meyer, a subsidiary of Cincinnati-based Kroger Co., announced in March 2018 that it would stop selling guns and ammunition. Based in Portland, Oregon, the company released a public statement at the time that said, “Fred Meyer has made a business decision to exit the firearms category. We are currently working on plans to responsibly phase out sales of firearms and ammunition.” That decision was made on the heels of other major retailers — notably Walmart and L.L. Bean — who chose to stop selling guns to anyone younger than 21.

According to an article published by Grand View Outdoors (GVO), these moves were also made in response to declining sales. “In stores like Dick’s, Walmart and Fred Meyer, sales of such firearms have been steadily declining and management believes they can make more profit per square foot of store space by replacing firearms with items that sell faster and have a higher profit margin, like clothing,” said GVO.

While some U.S. retailers are phasing out their firearms categories, the Trump administration has made it easier for U.S. firearm manufacturers to sell firearms overseas. Beginning this month, firearm companies no longer need licenses from the Department of State to sell firearms, including sporting rifles like the AR-15, to export overseas. Now, sellers need only a no-fee license from the Department of Commerce, which offers firearm manufacturers a, “less onerous licensing process,” according to NBC News.

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