Dick’s Sporting Goods took a bold step in February of 2018 when they announced they would be heavily restricting their firearm purchases, including barring individuals under 21 from purchasing any firearm.
The move was in response to the horrific shooting incident at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
The bold decision, however, cost the company an estimated $150 million, the Daily Caller reports.
Dick’s also hired anti-gun lobbyists to promote gun restriction legislation, despite saying it still supports the Second Amendment.
“The system does not work,” said Edward Stack, Dick’s CEO. “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.”
The anti-gun shift made massive waves when it was first announced in February 2018 and Stack was accused of violating fiduciary duties by knowingly and purposely giving up money. Some gun manufacturers cut ties with Dick’s and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) expelled the company from its membership. The loss of customers was also almost immediately felt.
According to the report, National Center for Public Policy Research Vice President David Almasi previously said sales with gun manufacturers were “anemic” and “so poor” that Dick’s is considering leaving the gun business “entirely.”
“Sales are so anemic and relations with gun manufacturers such as Mossberg so poor right now that you’ve even indicated Dick’s might get out the gun business entirely,” Almasi said during a shareholder’s call. “Meanwhile, Sportsman’s Warehouse reports that their gun sales and net sales were up 15 percent during the first quarter. That company credits consumer backlash against companies such as Dick’s as partially responsible for its success.”
Here’s more, from Bloomberg News:
Last February, when Dick’s Sporting Goods boss Ed Stack announced he was restricting gun sales at the country’s largest sports retailer, he knew it’d be costly.
At the time, Dick’s was a major seller of firearms. Guns also drove the sale of soft goods—boots, hats, jackets. What’s more, Stack, the retailer’s chief executive officer, suspected the position could drive off some of his customers on political principle.
He was right. Dick’s estimates the policy change cost the company about $150 million in lost sales, an amount equivalent to 1.7 percent of annual revenue.
As Bloomberg reports, Stack said the decision—including the massive hit to his company’s revenue—was worth it.
“The system does not work,” Stack said concerning gun violence prevention laws in the country. “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 and Dick’s Sporting Goods initial announcement to drastically change the way they sell firearms to the public was met with mixed reaction, Bloomberg reports:
The National Rifle Association criticized his “strange business model.” The National Shooting Sports Foundation expelled Dick’s from its membership. Gun manufacturers like Mossberg refused to do business with him at all, and some shoppers followed suit.
Some people applauded the CEO’s decision and promised to show their appreciation with their business—a phenomenon called “buycotting”—but those people didn’t stick around. “Love is fleeting. Hate is forever,” Stack said.