Dick’s Sporting Goods will remove hunting departments from 440 more stores nationwide, continuing a program that began last year with the elimination of the category from 125 stores.
The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based sporting goods chain announced the news in its quarterly earnings press release Tuesday morning.
Company Chief Executive Ed Stack has been a staunch advocate of stricter gun control measures following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 dead. Immediately following the February 2018 shooting, 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 group at the time was swift and furious, calling Dick’s action a slap against law-abiding gun owners and threatening nationwide boycotts.
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Despite the boycott calls, Dick’s reported its best quarter in years last November, and Tuesday said same-store sales, a measure of retailer health, rose a healthy 3.7%.
Following the removal of hunting and gun departments from another 440 stores this year, 160 stores will continue selling 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 said gun and hunting departments are low-margin businesses. In stores where the category has been removed, the space has been filled with higher margin apparel departments.
The company was founded in Binghamton 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, Golf Galaxy and Field & Stream, with 42 million square feet of retail space.
This story will be updated.