Dick's Sporting Goods to eliminate gun, hunting departments in 440 stores

Jeff Platsky, Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
Dick's Sporting Goods to eliminate gun, hunting departments in 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.

Dick's Sporting Goods has been widening restrictions on gun sales.

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Despite the boycott calls, 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%.

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

The company 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.

This story will be updated.

Jeff Platsky covers transportation and the economy for the USA TODAY Network – New York. He can be reached at JPLATSKY@Gannett.com and followed on Twitter: @JeffPlatsky

This article originally appeared on Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin: Dick's Sporting Goods to close 440 gun and hunting departments