When America’s biggest sports retailer, Dick’s Sporting Goods, decided to restrict gun sales and alienate a large portion of its pro-gun customer base, they knew there would be some consequences.
However, they might not have expected it to cost them $150 million in sales in a single year, or the equivalent of 1.7 percent of annual revenue.
But that’s exactly what happened.
Despite the loud-and-clear message from customers, CEO Ed Stack still says the anti-gun decision was worth it.
“The system does not work,” Stack told Bloomberg. “It’s important that when you know there’s something that’s not working, and it’s to the detriment of the public, you have to stand up.”
Stack made the decision to pull so-called “assault-style rifles” and high-capacity magazines following the Parkland High School shooting. He also made it a policy to refuse to sell firearms to anyone under 21, even though the policy is at odds with federal law.
People then responded by voting with their wallets.
“What happened at Dick’s confirms new study results out of Stanford University. Respondents said they were more likely to buy a product to support a CEO’s political stance than they were to boycott in disagreement, but their actions revealed the opposite,” Bloomberg reported. “When asked for specific examples, 69 percent could name a product they’d stopped buying, and only 21 percent could recall a product they started buying.”
The only saving grace for Dick’s is that the company’s stock hasn’t tanked — not yet at least.
The report added: “The stock price hasn’t suffered. Dick’s shares, which didn’t move much following the announcement last February, have climbed 14 percent in the 13 months since, outpacing the 4 percent rise in the benchmark Russell 3000 Index. On Friday, the company’s shares rose as much as 0.6 percent in New York.”
However, Dick’s must now try to carve out a new space in the industry as hunters and gun owners no longer view the store as a go-to spot. They are hoping sports merchandise can replace the lost revenue from guns.
In August, Dick’s even made the extreme move to do away with hunting supplies completely.
Good luck with that.