Paranoia Has Its Limits as Gun Sales Slump
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Dick’s Sporting Goods issued a profit warning Tuesday, and the biggest concern from management is over golf equipment. But that’s not the only reason the sporting-goods retailer is struggling.
The firm also warned over its hunting division, and on a conference call, management made it clear what’s going on.
Here’s what COO Joe Schmidt told investors: “We had anticipated this category to be below last year as did others in the space but we underestimated the decline. We all knew the significant increase in sales during the past couple of years was temporary and driven by concern for both legislative action that would broadly change our gun laws.”
Put another way: paranoia has its limits as a driver of gun sales. Background checks — a proxy for sales — jumped 19% in 2012 and rose another 8% in 2013, according to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal, Background Check System.
But there’s a different story in 2014. Background checks plummeted by a third in January — and even as some of that decline was weather related, there hasn’t been a catch-up since then. Background checks were up just 1% from February to April. Taken together, background checks are down 9% this year.