Dick's may lose customers over gun policies, CEO warns

Dick’s Sporting Goods expects to lose some customers after implementing new restrictions on gun sales in its stores, CEO Edward Stack said Tuesday.

Stack, speaking on Dick’s earnings call Tuesday, said it was “too early to tell” the full impact of the retailer’s changes to its firearm policies, though he warned that sales could suffer as a result.

“The announcement we made two weeks ago is not going to be positive from a traffic and sales standpoint,” he said.

Dick’s has seen a slight difference in its hunting business since the announcement in late February, according to Stack. He also told analysts that sales in other categories might take a hit, saying “some of those customers that buy firearms buy other things also.”

“We’ve had some pushback, and we knew that was going to happen,” he added.

Dick’s also received an “outpouring of support” for its policy changes, according to Stack.

The Pittsburgh-based retailer, known for its sports apparel and equipment, was among the first major retailers to announce tighter controls on its gun sales following the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Dick’s raised the minimum age for all gun purchases to 21, ceased offering “high-capacity magazines” and pulled AR-15-style rifles from its Field & Stream stores.

Walmart and Kroger also announced that they won’t sell any firearms to customers under 21 years old. Federal law prohibits rifle purchases for anyone under the age of 18. The federal minimum age for handgun purchases is 21.

Dick’s accounted for the potential loss of some sales when drawing up its financial outlook for 2018. Including the impact of its new gun sales restrictions, Dick’s expects to report consolidated same-store sales in a range of flat to a low single-digit percentage decline.

Shares traded 1% higher to $32.88 on Tuesday. Dick’s has lost 32.7% over the past 12 months.