Dick's Sporting Goods' Q4 earnings came in "slightly higher than Wall Street's forecasts," but the retailer's revenue and same-store sales -- which included the '16 holiday shopping season -- came in "lower than predicted," according to Kevin McCoy of USA TODAY. Dick's expects to "lose customers over its decision to eliminate sales of assault-style weapons and require buyers of other guns and high-capacity ammunition magazines to be 21 or older." Dick's Chair & CEO Edward Stack said that while the company has "received a surprise 'outpouring of support' over the Feb. 28 decision, it's 'too early' to quantify the longer-term financial impact" (USA TODAY, 3/14). CFRA Research analyst Victor Ahluwalia said that Dick's forecast that sales could stay flat for '18 "isn’t being too conservative." He added that brick-and-mortar retailers are "getting pressured by online sellers, as well as brands such as Nike deciding to sell directly to consumers as well as through traditional retailers." Ahluwalia: "It’s a challenging environment." Dick’s said that it saw sales "slow in performance tracking accessories such as Fitbits across the industry." However, its "private label brands showed traction" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 3/14). The AP noted Dick's is "fending off competition from Amazon.com and other online sports gear sellers" (AP, 3/13). At presstime, shares of Dick's were trading at $33.82 per share, up 2.86% from the close of business yesterday (THE DAILY).
KEEPING THE FAITH: Stack mentioned the "stronger innovation pipelines" at brands like Nike, Callaway and TaylorMade while leaving Under Armour off the list. Dick's is UA's "largest customer," and UA has "struggled with its pricing and product assortment as it has expanded its distribution." The issues have led to "compressed margins" while U.S. apparel sales "have declined." Despite the issues, Stack "remains optimistic" about UA's chances of "turning things around under the leadership" of Founder, Chair & CEO Kevin Plank. Stack: "Under Armour will come back" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 3/13).