Field & Stream Takes Shoppers Camping

To celebrate the opening of its third store, Field & Stream is taking shoppers camping.

The retailer, owned by Dick’s Sporting Goods, says it is planning its first-ever Field & Stream Camp 1871, an overnight event at its new Erie, Pa. location. The experience includes a free tent, catered cookout, and campout challenges.

And to link the promotion to Father’s Day, it says it also plans to pick three registered campers who use #wheretraditionsbegin to share their Father's Day photo or story. The three winners get a VIP Campout experience, including outdoor prize packages.

Also on tap: Fishing advice from professional anglers, with demonstrations at a 4,000-gallon bass tank, practice at its archery trailer, and a 14,000-gallon paddle pool to test boats. The Pittsburgh-based retailer has said it intends to open eight additional new Field & Stream stores this year.

The opening comes at a challenging time for outdoorsy retailers. Camping continues to be a declining activity, with just 10.6% of American adults spending at least one overnight camping, including car, RV and backyard getaways, according to the Outdoor Foundation. And while participation in both hunting (up 9% from 2006 to 2011, reports the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services) and fishing (up 11% in the same period), retailers aren’t necessarily seeing corresponding sales gains.

Last month, Dick’s reported first-quarter net income of $61.3 million, a slight increase from the $60.5 million earned in the prior-year period, and an 8% sales gain to $1.4 billion. On a same-store basis, sales advanced 1.5%. But sales fell 10.4% at its Golf Galaxy stores.

"Our difficulties this quarter were isolated to two categories: golf and hunting," Edward W. Stack, chairman/CEO, said in announcing the results. "After a very challenging first quarter in golf last year, we expected some further headwinds and only modest improvement, but instead we saw a continued significant decline. In the case of hunting, we planned the business down based on last year's catalysts, but it was even weaker than expected."

It says it expects hunting sales to stabilize and begin returning to normalized levels by the end of the year.

Cabela’s, a key competitor, also took a beating on recent hunting results, with revenue falling 9.6% in the most recently announced quarter to $725.8 million; direct revenues tumbling 20.3% to $179.4 million; and comparable store sales dropping 21.7%. But it also expects sales of its hunting, fishing and soft goods to perk up.

“In the first quarter, we anniversary the most difficult comparisons versus the firearms and ammunition surge last year,” says Tommy Millner, Cabela’s CEO, in its release. “As we cycle through the unprecedented comparisons from 2013, we are encouraged by our strong fundamentals.”



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