DICK'S CEO: The retail industry is in 'panic mode'

Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO Edward Stack said the retail industry is in a “perfect storm” for pain — and some retailers are panicking.

“There’s a lot of people right now, I think, in retail and in this industry, in panic mode,” Stack said in a call with investors on Tuesday. “There’s been a difficult environment.”

Many retailers are struggling to boost sales and grow traffic, with more than 6,300 store closures announced so far in 2017. Traditional retailers have struggled to keep up with the rise of e-commerce as Amazon becomes increasingly dominant and mall traffic declines.

“I think it’s just a perfect storm right now in retail, and I think sporting goods is in the center of it,” Stack said.

He continued: “We’re not particularly happy that we’re in it, but we think we are … one of the few that are very well-positioned to come out of the other side very strong and continue to be the leaders in this industry.”

Abandoned retail store dicks parking lotFlickr/Nicholas EckhartA former Dick’s Sporting Goods store.

Many companies are hoping to win over customers with dirt-cheap prices and what Stack called “irrational” and “unpredictable” promotions.

Dick’s has doubled down on attracting budget hunters and debuted a “best price guarantee” initiative in July. Now, if customers find an item being sold at a lower price — either online or at another retailer — Dick’s has promised to match the best price available.

“We’re going to be aggressive and we will be beating their prices,” Stack said. “We’re not going to sit back and just watch this happen. We’ve got the financial strength and muscle to withstand this storm.”

Dick’s shares plunged 19% before the market opened on Tuesday, after second-quarter profits and sales missed analysts’ expectations. The company reported net sales of $US2.16 billion and 0.1% growth in comparable store sales at locations open for at least a year.

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