Posted on April 9, 2018
Maybe Dick’s Sporting Goods should have taken its bold move on guns sales years ago. Customer traffic to the 700-plus-store chain grew 3.7 percent the weekend after it announced it would no longer sell assault-style rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines — as well as guns to anyone under the age of 21, The Post has learned.
Despite boycotts and social media threats against the retailer following its Feb. 28 announcement, more customers flooded its stores compared with the weekend before its move.
The move by Dick’s followed the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. In Florida, traffic to Dick’s stores increased 9 percent over the two weekends, according to Reveal Mobile, which tracks location data on mobile devices.
“Anytime a nationwide retailer can gain nearly 4 percent in foot traffic, that can have a very positive impact on revenues,” said Matthew Davis, chief marketing officer of Reveal Mobile, a Raleigh, NC, company.
A second customer-traffic monitoring company showed the number of cars in the parking lots of Dick’s stores was up by a high single-digit percentage over a four-day period — from Feb. 28 to March 3 — compared with the year earlier period.
“Our satellite imagery analysis of customer car traffic showed an increase after the company announced their more restrictive gun sales policy,” said Mike Gantcher, of Remote Sensing Metrics, which collected the data.
New Yorkers generated a 14 percent increase in customer traffic at Dick’s stores, while California customer traffic grew by 4.6 percent, Reveal said.
But not all stores saw increases.
Those in Texas saw an average 5.8 percent decrease, while West Virginia stores drew 2.7 percent fewer customers, according Reveal Mobile.
Dick’s, based in Coraopolis, Pa., did not respond to questions for comment — but at least one Wall Street analyst was surprised by the findings.
“I would have expected them to lose business because they stopped selling something,” Wedbush analyst Christopher Svezia told The Post.
“[Cutting off] gun sales to people under 21 will have an impact,” he said.
However, the effect may be small as, Svezia noted, Dick’s hunting business represents less than 10 percent of sales.
“The question becomes: How many people are shopping at Dick’s to show their support, and to what degree is this long term or short term?” Svezia added.
At least 20 major companies, including Delta and United Airlines, Allied Van Lines, MetLife and Hertz discontinued discount programs to members of the National Rifle Association.
Meanwhile, Walmart, Kroger and REI have taken even stronger steps — curtailing sales of guns or merchandise made by gun companies.
Public opinion toward Walmart and MetLife rose after their gun control announcements, according to data by Morning Consult.
Dick’s shares fell 1 cent on Thursday, to $31.53. They are up 10 percent this year.
Click here for the original article by New York Post.