Gun stance hurts Dick's relationship with gunmakers, but doesn't hurt its business

By Published on .

Credit: Sean Proctor/Bloomberg

Dick's Sporting Goods might not be on great terms with gun makers right now, but that's not hurting the brand much. The Pittsburgh-based sporting goods retailer reported earnings Wednesday that exceeded expectations, and investors sent its share price soaring as a result.

For the first quarter, Dick's generated a 4.6 percent increase in net sales over the year-earlier period to $1.9 billion; net income for the quarter was $60.1 million. Though comparable store sales declined 2.5 percent—impacted by a "continued deceleration in hunt and electronics" and colder spring weather—the chain upped its full-year guidance. On a Wednesday morning conference call, executives said that marketing, highlighting Dick's omni-channel prowess and private-label brands, continues to be a "major priority."

Following the mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school, Dick's said in February that it would no longer sell assault-style rifles. Earlier this month, gunmaker O.F. Mossberg & Sons cut all business ties with the retailer as a result; Dick's was also expelled from the National Shooting Sports Federation. Dick's CEO and Chairman Ed Stack addressed the issue on the call with analysts.

"We don't have the best relationships with the firearms industry right now," he said, though he added that Dick's can still buy some Mossberg firearms from other distributors if it wants to and that the National Shooting Sports Federation expulsion is "not that big of a deal." Dick's, which also operates Field & Stream stores, is also facing a challenging hunting business, Stack said, though the consumer pullback on the sport has been happening for several years.

But Stack said that Dick's stance on firearms has helped the brand attract new consumers.

"There have been a number of people who have started shopping us," he said.

Most Popular