Friday, February 27, 2009

Another Poor Strategic Decision for An American Business

or how Sports Authority lost a customer and kept him lost.

I used to shop at Sports Authority. Got paintball supplies there, clothing, soccer stuff, some camping gear. I never really liked shopping there, prices always seemed a little high, but they had the best selection. Then we got an Academy Sports several miles closer, so I started going there. Hadn't been to Sports Authority in a while. You could say they lost me as a customer.

Today I was nearby and went in to see if I could pick up some ammunition. I burned through my last box of .380 at the range a couple weeks ago, and haven't been able to find any since. You may have heard, ammunition and firearms sales are up lately. Neither Academy Sports or American Sportsman had any FMJ ball, when I went so I thought to check out Sports Authority. Not only did they have no .380, they had no ammunition or firearms of any kind. They apparently stopped selling guns and ammo a couple years ago.

I think they made a bad decision. Maybe not a Circuit City strategic error, but a strategic error nonetheless. Here's why:
(1) A customer with money to spend walked in their door, walked around the store looking for a product they used to sell, and left without buying anything. How is that good business?
(2) In this soft economy, guns and ammo are one of the few things that are selling really, really well. Sports Authority doesn't sell that type of sporting goods though. How is that good business?
(3) Since guns and ammo is normally a profitable business, I'm thinking that Sports Authority is making a political statement against shooters by not selling them. How is that good business?

May not be a big deal to anyone else, but I won't be back, and I'll tell others why.


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