Dick's Sporting Goods mulls ridding hunting supplies from all 732 stores

Dick's Sporting Goods takes stance on guns

The jury is still out as to whether Dick's Sporting Goods will extend a controversial move to clear hunting supplies from its stores, including shotguns, ammunition, cross bows and rifle scopes.

The retailer, which stopped selling assault rifles earlier in the year, in late August said it would also rid 10 Dick's stores of "virtually all" hunting items. The stores involved were those where hunting sales had fared the most poorly.

"We'll have to wait and see how the 10-store test does," CEO Edward Stack said during an earnings call Wednesday. 

That said, Stack noted, Dick's is "looking at a number of stores where the hunt category significantly underperforms." Additional moves will involve deciding what's "a smart thing to do from a business standpoint," he added.

The company currently operates 732 Dick's stores in 47 states.

Hunting supplies and electronics are being swapped out for higher-margin products geared at athletes and sports teams, including outerwear in colder parts of the country and baseball and soccer equipment, Stack said.

"As the football business has declined, baseball and soccer have picked up," he noted.

The Pennsylvania-based retailer earlier reported a third-quarter net sales decline to $1.86 billion from $1.94 billion in the year-earlier period, with adjusted same-store sales down 3.9 percent. 

"Sales continue to be negatively impacted by double-digit declines in hunt and electronics," CFO Lee Belitsky said. "Specific to hunt, in addition to the strategic decisions we made regarding firearms earlier this year, the broader industry has decelerated and remains weak, as evidenced by most recent background-check data" for firearms purchases.

Dick's halted sales of assault-style weapons and raised the minimum purchase age for firearms to 21 in February following a mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people.