Bob Owens

The saddest truth in politics is that people get the leaders they deserve

Dick’s droops after miserable performance, goes into denial

Written By: Bob - May• 02•13

It’s “common sense.” When you treat your customers and your suppliers disreputably, it will come back to haunt your bottom line:

Following the Newtown shooting spree, Dick’s Sporting Goods changed their policy and stopped selling AR-pattern and other semi-automatic, magazine-fed rifles, even the guns they had already sold.

If there’s a silver lining for all the people who were eagerly waiting for that Troy Carbine and were vastly dissappointed, it’s that Dick’s isn’t doing so well in the financial department.

At a time where the only thing a company has to do to sell firearms, ammo and accessories is to unlock their doors, Dick’s sales have flat-lined. In fact, their sales dropped 2.2 percent  in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to 2011 and their shares 10 percent in the last quarter.

Dick’s CEO pointed his finger squarely at, well, Lance Armstrong. “People had a very negative reaction to the Livestrong brand,” he said at an earnings report.

Lance Armstrong recently confessed that he trafficked and used steroids, giving in to allegations of doping starting in 2004. His line of Livestrong goods makes up for half of Dick’s elliptical and trainer apparel.

Dick’s denied that their sales were low because of the store’s gun policy, instead they pointed the finger at the ammunition shortage.

But other sporting goods stores are not feeling the pinch despite the ammo drought. In fact, Cabela’s is doing better than ever and investors have been quick to point out that it’s because of their strong gun sales.

“Cabela’s Inc. stock closed up more than 16 percent, among leading gainers on the New York Stock Exchange, and hit a 52-week high Thursday after reporting strong financial results above the market’s and the company’s expectations.”

It is hard work to build a brand, and it is easy to damage one, but it takes a special kind of idiocy to offend your customers so deeply that they decide they never want to deal with you again.

I used to like Dick’s Sporting Goods a lot, and even worked for them in two different cities (Middletown, NY, and Cary, NC). I bought a lot of product from them over the years, in almost every department in the store. Now, even though they opened a store in Holly Springs near the Wake County range on a road where I almost trip on them on the way home, I won’t visit them again as a matter of principle. Ever.

Dicks’ Edward Stack is either lying to himself, his investors, or both. The company’s treatment of gun purchasers was horrific enough, but the way they treated supplier Troy made many shooters I know swear off the company for life, and that affects the bottom line as the numbers show. Frankly, I think Stack and any others in management who had a hand in this decision should be forced to step down for the damage they’ve caused to the brand.

It wasn’t just business. When you offend people’s values, it becomes personal.

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25 Comments

  1. Comrade X says:

    After that headline all I can think about is Dick’s impotent gun policy & how their stocks values have gone limp!

    • louielouie says:

      i’m with comrade X.
      i’ll come back and read the article again
      after i stop laughing
      get up off the floor
      clean up the mess
      stop laughing

  2. citizen says:

    My wife and I used to spend healthy sums at Dick’s Sporting Goods. We now purposely avoid them, as we do all businesses who don’t value either their customers or their country.

  3. Cole says:

    I was already abstaining from Dick’s. I worked there a long time ago. Had to quit because my Grandmother died. As I was explaining the situation to the HR guy and apologizing profusely the manager walked in and started screaming about how I was lying. Turned into a giant shouting match in the middle of the store as I tried to leave. So I’ve been a Bass man ever since. Yep, Bass Pro or Cabelas.

  4. STW says:

    Dicks?

  5. Jake says:

    Dick’s is closer to my house. For general sporting goods I drive across town to Academy and for shooting supplies I go to Cabela’s.
    Dick’s can suck a chubby one for all I care.

  6. Klingonwork says:

    I will never shop Dick’s again, period. And neither will any of the shooters I know at the ranges. Everyone I know feels quite betrayed by Dick’s and Remington.

    Molon Labe

    • Klingonwork says:

      …and BTW, the comment that it is due to ammo is bovine excrement.

      Was at Turner’s yesterday here in LaLa land and they say their sales are through the roof…and they are starving for ammo to sell.

      Ban Dick’s for EVERYTHING.

  7. Robert says:

    Did Dick’s expect grateful gun grabbers to swarm the stores to buy basketballs and sneakers to cover the loss of gun sales?

  8. jimsung25 says:

    I wasn’t aware of Dick’s gun policy. They only recently opened up a store in my area. I went there because someone posted on the Internet that they have .22LR ammo. When I went for the first time last Friday, sure enough, they had it! They had 6 535 round bricks for $19.99 that they gave to two customers (limit 3 each). I’m sure those ended up on armslist.com a short time later for $60 each. They had many 50 round boxes for $9.99 each, limit 3 per customer. I hate it that now I can’t go back.

  9. HSmith says:

    I used to shop Dick’s when I first moved to Nevada, because it was the closest thing here in Las Vegas to Scheel’s. I received their email add every week and bought a lot of workout type gear from them. At that time I didn’t even know they carried guns and shooting gear because it was all on the upper level in a corner. When I found out what they did after Newtown, I cancelled their ad and haven’t been back since. I shop Bass Pro a lot, but I do wish we could get a Scheel’s here in southern Nevada.

  10. Charlie Hargrave says:

    I’ve not set foot in dick’s since they pulled that stunt. Even when they are convenient. Even when they are cheaper.

    They have lost this steady customer for life.

  11. Chuck says:

    I now regret the spending we’ve done at the Cary Dick’s since my kids were 8 and 9 years old (they’re now 24 and 25). Everything from baseball gear to soccer to camping, clothes, paintball and yes, ammo. It’ll be a VERY cold day before I grace their store with my business again.

  12. Old School says:

    I used to spend several hundred dollars a year at Dicks on a variety of stuff. The last time I went was the day after they pulled this stunt with Troy. I redeemed a coupon (for ammo of all things), and then asked to speak with the manager. When she came to see me I politely told her what I thought of their new policy, and that I would never set foot in one of their stores for the rest of my life. She said that several customers had already told her the same thing that day. I haven’t been back since and I would not go back if they were giving ammo away for free.

  13. Austerlitz says:

    Anyone in Raleigh-Durham, NC care to offer a better option at getting ammo? Gander has yanked up its prices, and Walmart never can say when they’ll have ammo in. Dick’s gets ammo every Friday, and hasn’t doubled prices like the others.

  14. Ranch Hand says:

    I have shopped at Dick’s in Paducah, Ky at times. I never really like that place, and after the rifle flap, I reckoned they could just f*** off. I have not been back and won’t be.

    You’re right about brand loyalty. It is hard to build. I’m a Harley man..to the bone. Part of that is by design on part of Harley-Davidson. They work hard to build customers like me and if they take any design or company mistakes, buyers quickly let the Motor Company know. They, valuing their customer base, recalculate and do what they do best..building bikes we want. Too bad for the dicks at Dick’s. I guess they’ll just have to try to make it selling gay pink shoes.

  15. Jane K. says:

    My husband’s grandsons wanted Dick’s giftcards last Christmas. Didn’t have time to argue, but told him if that’s what they ask for this Christmas, it will be a ‘no.’
    And RH, lol the pink shoes.

  16. MarkT says:

    Dick’s management should be ousted. They have a fiduciary responsibility to their stockholders and employees. Instead they piss that away on some useless political correctness b/c of which way the political winds are blowing. I feel sorry for the employees that still work there. I too used to shop at Dick’s but never again.

  17. Jeff Hoser says:

    The “Dick’s Disaster” is likely to be enshrined in the lexicon of the Wharton School of Business ! Taking the “PK” route – when your prime demographic isn’t supportive – leads to flat or declining sales. If naught else, the plight of Dick’s ought to be highlighted as exemplary of economic power wielded by shooting sports fans. I’m sure a lot of other “big box stores” and manufacturers are taking careful notes ! >MW

  18. Mr. Law Of Unintended Consequences says:

    Me too. I used to shop there on a semi-regular basis. I haven’t set foot in one of their stores since Newtown. And I’m not even a gun owner. I do however hate people who want to ban guns.

  19. Steve Gregg says:

    I have visited Dick’s twice. Both times I waited for fifteen minutes at the gun counter to be waited on before I finally gave up and walked out. Nobody seemed to care. So, I’m wondering how you could tell if Dick’s stopped selling guns. It didn’t seem to me that they were much interested in selling anything.

  20. Hersheybosco says:

    Bought a $1200 gun safe from Dick’s and while waiting for delivery read about their new gun policy. Went back and told them I wanted to cancel the order and they never asked why. Just gave me my money back. If I worked for them I would have at least asked why the decision to cancel so that maybe I could salvage the sale (not that they could’ve).

  21. Fred says:

    Dick’s has always been a horrible firearms vendor. Naive employees and proud of it. Prices are high, service is poor and apparently management is clueless….what could go wrong?

  22. matt sparrow says:

    Here’s the quote from DKS management.

    “In the fourth quarter, we experienced continued momentum in athletic footwear and apparel along with strong sales in hunting that exceeded our expectations. These increases were partially offset by lower-than-anticipated sales in outerwear and cold weather accessories, as well as a significant decline in the fitness category,” said Edward W. Stack, Chairman and CEO.

    Guns sales are robust at DKS.

    You mopes are getting played by the gun makers!