Dick's Sporting Goods not hurting from its gun-control choices

8 months ago by Jeremy Bloom

After the Parkland shooting last month, Dick's Sporting Goods announced they would no longer be selling assault-style rifles in their hunting section, along with their Field & Stream subsidiary. They also changed their age policy, from 18+ to 21+, for all gun sales. How did that work out for them? 

While conservatives and NRA allies expected a backlash, the amount of energy on the pro-gun-control side seams to have balanced things out. Let's take a look at the numbers.

Initially, Field & Stream showed a big dropoff in Facebook followers - presumably Second Amendment boosters angry at the decision. However, the following day there was an equal and opposite reaction - on the whole, a win for Field & Stream.

Because of those big spikes on Feb 27 and 28, the scale makes the rest of the chart hard to parse, so here's another with just the past four weeks:

But you want to see spikes? Here's what happened to Dick's Sporting Goods Facebook page over February 27-28:

That's right, an influx of just short of 150,000 new likes - an overwhelming outpouring of support.

Over the next weeks, here's what happened:

The renewed attention from the March For Our Lives seems to have pushed them back into another upswing.

As for Twitter following, while Field & Stream's tiny numbers barely registered (= not a big twitter presence), take a look at what happened to Dick's:

Likewise with the surge in checkins via Facebook's "were here" count:

How has all this affected sales? We'll have to wait for first quarter numbers. Both Dick's and Field & Stream have been hurt by the general retail meltdown, as well as a Trump slump in gun sales. The industry had pumped up inventories in anticipation of panic-buying in response to Hillary Clinton's election; instead they got Trump, and sales during 2017 stagnated.

Jeremy Bloom

When Jeremy Bloom isn't writing about energy, the environment, or the amazing strangeness of modern life, you can find him drinking really good single malt whisky...

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