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Dick's Sporting Goods, after best quarter in years, to eliminate guns, hunting gear from 440 stores



Dick's Sporting Goods will remove hunting departments from 440 more stores nationwide, continuing a program that began last year when the category was eliminated from 125 stores.


The Pittsburgh-based sporting goods chain announced the news in its quarterly earnings news release Tuesday morning.


Company Chief Executive Ed Stack has been a staunch advocate of stricter gun control measures since the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 dead. Immediately after the shooting in February 2018,


Stack halted the sale of assault-style rifles at his stores nationwide and raised the minimum age for gun purchases to 21.


Reaction from gun rights groups was swift and furious, calling Dick's action a slap against law-abiding gun owners and threatening nationwide boycotts.


Before Wednesday's announcement, Dick's reported its best quarter in years last November, and said Tuesday that same-store sales, a measure of retailer health, rose a healthy 3.7%. That quarter, however, was recorded while more traditional-appearing hunting rifles and other hunting supplies were still being offered by the chain.


Can Dick's Sporting Goods sell soft sporting goods and continue their record-setting profit margins? (Photo illustration: The Motley Fool)


After the removal of hunting and gun departments from 440 stores this year, 160 stores will sell the outdoors gear. The company has not announced which stores will be affected.


Dick's said it will take a $48.8 million fourth-quarter charge connected to the move.

Last year, Dick's sold eight Field & Stream stores, targeted to outdoor enthusiasts, to Sportsman's Warehouse for $28 million.


Stack has long claimed gun and hunting departments are low-margin businesses. In stores where the category was removed, the space was filled with higher-margin apparel departments.


However, Cabela's and Bass Pro Shops continue to experience high volume in their gun and hunting supplies departments., Volume, in fact, at those stores has increased Dick's curtailed the sale of semi-automatic hunting rifles two years ago.


Dick's Sporting Goods was founded in Binghamton, New York, 42 years ago as a single bait-and-tackle shop on the East Side and has since grown into 726 Dick's Sporting Goods stores across the nation and 130 specialty store concepts, such as Golf Galaxy and Field & Stream, with 42 million square feet of retail space.

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