Dick’s Says Firearms Restrictions Turned Away Some Customers

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Dick’s Sporting Goods
Inc.


DKS 0.98%

said its decision to no longer sell guns to anyone under 21 years old has hurt traffic and retail sales as the move upset some customers and exacerbated headwinds to its hunting and gun business.

Last month, after a Parkland, Fla., high-school shooting left 17 people dead, Dick’s and

Walmart
Inc.


WMT 0.26%

were among retailers that announced age restrictions on gun sales.

Tuesday, Dick’s said it was surprised by the “outpouring of support” for its new gun policies but also said that some customers were choosing to shop elsewhere.

“Some of those customers that buy firearms, buy other things also,” Dick’s  Chief Executive

Edward Stack

told analysts on a conference call. “There are just going to be some people who just don’t shop us anymore for anything.”

Under current law, licensed gun dealers can sell a handgun to someone 21 years old and sell a rifle to someone who is 18. President

Donald Trump

initially seemed open to raising the age limit for rifle sales, but a plan from his administration to reduce gun violence instead called for funding to train school staffers to carry guns. The plan also called to create a federal panel to study age restrictions and other potential changes in laws and to make recommendations later.

Dick’s said it was hurt by weak overall demand for guns, which impacted both competitors and suppliers. Gun maker Remington Outdoor Co. is planning to file for bankruptcy protection as early as next week as it built capacity when gun sales were soaring but sales dropped after Mr. Trump took office. Earlier this month,

American Outdoor Brands
Corp.

forecast weak firearm sales for at least a year, becoming the latest gun maker to report disappointing quarterly results.

Dick’s said its hunting business posted negative comparable-store sales and expects the challenges to continue this year, with its new gun policies being an additional burden.

Shares fell 2.5% in midday trading Tuesday as the company reported a comparable-store sales decline of 2% in its latest quarter. Analysts polled by Consensus Metrix had expected a 1.2% decline.

Fourth-quarter revenue rose 7.3% to $2.66 billion, which included an extra week compared with the same period a year earlier.

Dick’s earned a profit of $116 million, or $1.11 a share, compared with $90.2 million, or 81 cents a share, in the same period a year before. On an adjusted basis, earnings per share came in at $1.22, more than the $1.20 expected from analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

Dick’s also said it would devote less store space to selling electronic fitness trackers, as margins and sales continue to fall in the market for those products.

Write to Austen Hufford at austen.hufford@wsj.com

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