Virtue Signal Received, Acknowledged

Virtue, signaled (two weeks ago):

Dick’s Sporting Goods will no longer sell assault-style firearms, will ban high-capacity magazines and will not sell any guns to people younger than 21, the company announced Wednesday, a significant move for the retail giant in the midst of renewed calls for national gun reform.

Chief executive Edward W. Stack made the announcement during an appearance on “Good Morning America”, as well as through a company statement that said “thoughts and prayers are not enough” in the wake of America’s latest mass shooting. Two weeks ago, a gunman killed 17 people, most of them teenagers, in Parkland, Fla., with an AR-15 that was legally purchased. The alleged shooter, Nikolas Cruz, bought a shotgun from a Dick’s store in November, Stack said during the television interview.

Although the weapon purchased at the Dick’s outlet was not the one used in the massacre, Stack said his company was moved to act.

Virtue signal, responded to

Dick’s, which reported fourth-quarter earnings on Tuesday, said same store sales fell 2%, double the decline analysts expected…In a call with analysts, Chief Executive Ed Stack acknowledged that the new policy is “not going to be positive from a traffic and sales standpoint.”

It is difficult to say just how extensive the impact will be. Assault rifles were previously sold at three dozen of the company’s Field & Stream stores. Mr. Stack says the company has already seen pushback. “Some of those customers that buy firearms [from Dick’s] buy other things also.” They may not shop at Dick’s at all anymore, he said.

That loss is reflected in the company’s outlook. It expects same-store sales will range from flat to a single-digit decline this year. It also said that it will no longer provide analysts and investors with a quarterly outlook, underscoring the sense that the company is troubled.

It’s not all about guns.  Dick’s, like a lot of national chains, is having a hard time adjusting to a market where Amazon, as well as a raft of e-commerce retailers like CheaperThanDirt, are eating up immense market share.

But the gun thing?  That’s gonna leave a mark.


21 thoughts on “Virtue Signal Received, Acknowledged

  1. It’s the gun store for customers who don’t like guns! Seriously, why do they sell any guns? If it is immoral & and affront to a modern, 21st century society to sell guns to 20 year olds (who can legally buy them), why is it okay to sell an AR 15, a thousand rounds of ammunition, & human profile targets?
    Y’know what? Fugedaboutit. I’ve just checked their website. Crappy selection & their most expensive rifle was < $700. Who shops there? Sports Authority was better place to buy a gun.

  2. You can get a red plaid flannel shirt at many stores. If you want rugged work clothes at sensible prices, you shop Fleet Farm. If you want trendy work-looking clothes at exorbitant prices, you shop L. L. Bean. They know their audience so they know what quality to stock and how to price it.

    Dicks’ problem is they can’t decide whether they want to be Cabellas or REI so they can’t decide where to focus the product line and price point. Gander Mountain had a similar problem. Who wants to be “nearly as good and just as expensive” as the competition?

  3. Selling things Amazon won’t is necessary for long term survival and growth in the big box store market. Self-selecting your company out of the competition is dangerously short-sighted. If there is no other compelling reason to go to their stores stay home, buy what you want online.
    Mr Stack blames the stock price fall from $53 to $34 on Under Armour distribution issues, what a fool. If Mr stack thinks he’s getting a better margin on Under Armour product than Amazon he’s living in a fantasy world.

  4. I thought Dick’s stopped selling AR’s after Sandy Hook! Or, wait… Talk about signaling!

    After Sandy Hook, Cheaperthandirt also signaled they will stop selling AR platform. They backpeddled very soon afterwards. Very soon.

  5. Dick’s is in trouble, as they’re the guys that bought SportsAuthority, I would guess in a leveraged buyout. Not a good position to be in when you just ticked off 40% of your prospective customers.

  6. Anyone buying an assault rifle is likely only buying one in a lifetime, or in some cases, perhaps one a year. It’s not really bread and butter. That purchaser, though, likely buys a lot of other things that Dick’s sells, but now will just buy those things from other retailers instead. I believe Dick’s strategy is commonly referred to as “shooting oneself in the foot.”

  7. “Self-selecting your company out of the competition is dangerously short-sighted.”
    I thought the same thing when CVS stopped selling tobacco products. They are advertising the fact that if you want tobacco, well, you better go someplace else, bub!
    How does that translate into increased foot traffic?
    Shouldn’t CVS stop selling liquor & candy as well?

  8. We got Academy Sports here. Local, small company with only $4.7B in sales. Good products, good prices. I am sure they will finally be able to grow as Dickheads continue to turn off their customers.

    Speaking of Dickheads, did they announce they will stop selling AR’s at Sport Authority? Are we seeing a repeat of signaling after Sandy Hook?

  9. Yup,SA was sold, not to Dick’s, but to a trio of liquidators. My mistake.

    I am going to guess that, in a world where fewer garments ever need to be tried on, sporting goods stores need to shrink to a footprint representing things actually tested by customers prior to purchase. They might end up as places where people try things and then buy them online–a service funded by the manufacturers, more or less.

  10. We got Academy here, too JPA

    I’d buy all my reloading supplies there if I was the kind of guy that had guns.

  11. We also have Palmetto State Armory. I never go in there, though. They got nothing but custom made, scary black rifles and high speed pistols with big clips.

  12. I, personally, am glad that so many companies are into virtue signaling!

    Suppose I were the type who thought the 2nd Amendment was a human right. Then I could change my behavior, like not buying that $350 composite softball bat for my daughter from Dick’s, not to mention all the junk a high school athlete requires (damn they’re expensive these days!). Or deciding that my next trips out East with the family this year would be on Southwest rather than Delta, despite it being far more difficult to arrange the flights.

    We could already be talking almost 5 figures of dollars redirected if I were that sort of person, that is.

    You know, it used to be that companies were just happy to sell you their product. Now they feel obliged to supply you with a value system in addition to their product. I don’t think that’s an improvement.

  13. Yup, SA was sold, not to Dick’s, but to a trio of liquidators. My mistake.

    Funny, if you type in SA address you get to Dickhead’s landing page. You may not be mistaken after all!

  14. Swiftee, it’s too bad you never go to Palmetto State. I’d happily give you $500 to buy one of their “complete AR build except the lower” kits so your name appears in their business records and not mine, for when Chelsea Clinton gets elected and sends her brown shirts calling.

    For educational and amusement purposes, of course, just like switch blades you order from the back of magazines. I’d never actually build an AR – black guns frighten me.

  15. ! wonder if they make a mini chain saw attachment for my 1911? One that doesn’t interfee with the laser site, the extended magazine, and the clip-on taser?

  16. JD, I can’t be sure, of course, but I understand that it is the lower portion of those frightening black rifles that carry the incriminating serial number, which require identification.

    As far as I know, a fellow, an anonymous fellow mind you, could go in and pay cash for any part of those scary things other than the lower, pay cash, and dissapear into the night.


  17. Swiftee, I’ve heard that, too. And I read an article awhile back how gangs in California would buy 80% finished lowers for about $50, machine them to completion, and assemble a fully functioning but totally unregistered “ghost gun.” Terrifying. And expensive, if you buy the parts one-by-one at retail. That’s what makes the kits from Palmetto State and Daytona Tactical so troublesome – they’ve done the part selection for you and the whole kit costs about the same as a finished rifle.

    The one good thing is the kits don’t seem to be available for sale over-the-counter in Minnesota. Any criminal who wanted a kit would have to order it on-line and pay by credit card, which would leave a wide trail for investigators. I certainly hope local gangs don’t start sending members out-of-state to stores that sell the kits at retail. Why, that could result in every American being equipped to resist a tyrannical government and what would Chelsea do then?

  18. I’ve heard about those 80% ghost lowers, always figured they were chupacabras. The thought that they are real, well, my head is swimming.

    Also, and brace yourself, since the lower part of scary black rifles carry the serial number, the upper parts and trigger thingies are not considered weapons, and so may be mailed to gang members without worry! EVEN HIGH CAPACITY CLIPS for high speed bullets that turn the rifle into a Thompson sub machine gun can be mailed around!!!!!

    For the love of God, doesn’t anyone remember the St. Valentine’s day massacre???

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