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DICK'S Sporting Goods to end hunting rifles sales in 125 stores

The retailer has become known for its tightened gun laws following the Parkland school shooting.
A sign with the company logo hangs above the entrance of a Dick's Sporting Goods store.

PITTSBURGH — DICK'S Sporting Goods is making headlines with its tightened gun policies once again. 

The store is expected to stop selling hunting equipment along with rifles and ammunition at 125 stores in 2019. 

The sporting goods retailer says it is in response to positive performance in 10 stores where the "hunt" category was replaced by a "more compelling assortment." The hunting category is expected to be removed and replaced in the markets that underperformed, DICK'S confirmed. 

"Following this success, we will remove hunt from approximately 125 additional DICK's stores in 2019 where the category underperforms and will be replaced with merchandise categories that can drive growth, each based on the needs of that particular market," DICK'S reported during a quarterly earnings call.  

Not only were the margin rates reportedly better because of the mix, DICK'S reports that traffic went up in the 10 stores that replaced hunting equipment. 

All hunting items in the affected DICK'S stores subject to removal include guns, ammunition, accessories associated with firearms, hunting apparel, or anything associated with hunting. A DICK'S spokesperson assures that it will not affect other outdoor activities, such as fishing or kayaking. 

The sporting goods store previously made a commitment to destroy all the assault-style firearms it pulled from its shelves back in April 2018, instead of returning them to manufacturers. The store also stopped selling firearms to customers under 21 years of age. 

MORE: Dick's destroying all the guns it pulled from its shelves

Tightened gun restrictions were announced following the Parkland school shooting that happened earlier in the year. 

But, DICK'S hasn't been doing that well financially since gun sales were restricted. According to the New York Times, same-store sales have fallen 3.1 percent year-to-year.

The complete removal of the hunting merchandise isn't expected to be completed until the beginning of the third quarter, DICK'S said. 

If the transition goes as well as expected for the company in the affected stores, the retailer says it will expand the hunting removal strategy to "another batch of stores" next year.

"And we're just allocating floor space to make our boxes more productive. And the 10 stores were pretty enthusiastic about the response we have had there," A DICK'S spokesperson added during the call.  

CBS affiliate KDKA reports Dick's Sporting Goods is also expected to drop the Reebok label, replacing it with a new, in-house private label.

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