retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The impact of the massacre two weeks ago of 17 people at a Parkland, Florida, school by a lone, teenaged shooter continue to felt in the retail world, where already this week Dick’s Sporting Goods, Walmart and Kroger’s Fred Meyer stores have said that they are changing their policies and only will sell guns to people 21 years of age and older.

• The Associated Press reports that “outdoor retailer REI says it’s halting future orders of some popular brands — including CamelBak water carriers, Giro helmets and Camp Chef stoves — whose parent company also makes ammunition and assault-style rifles.”

REI doesn’t sell guns, but the debate has gotten to the point where REI’s customers have pressured it into no longer doing business with companies that own gun companies.

• The New York Post reports this morning that LL Bean is saying that it no longer will sell rifles or ammunition to anyone under 21 - though the company “only sells firearms at its flagship store in Maine and only guns specific to hunting and target shooting.” LL Bean “does not carry assault-style firearms, high-capacity firearms, bump stocks or handguns of any kind.”

Fortune reports on yesterday’s boycott of Apple and Amazon by people upset with both companies’ ongoing relationship with the National Rifle Association (NRA).

While it is unknown how much of an impact the boycott had, the story notes that at issue is the fact that both companies offer the NRA TV streaming-video channel on their services.

According to the story, “neither Apple nor Amazon have removed the NRA TV channels from their streaming services. Their decision at least so far not to turn their backs on the NRA has angered the companies’ legion of customers who have threatened everything from ditching Amazon’s $99-a-year Prime subscription service to buying alternatives to Apple’s devices. The protesters are also planning to boycott FedEx, which has also not severed ties with the NRA.”
KC's View:
Again, without going down the rabbit hole of the gun debate, it is important to point out that companies are having to take public policy positions that they’d probably just as soon avoid. Y’think REI or LL Bean wanted to deal with this? (LL Bean is still dealing with the change in its return policies … doing something that potentially could tick off another group of folks could not have been at the top of its to-do list.)

On the other hand, there are a bunch of young people who are not going to take “no” for an answer. They won’t accept it.

I have to admit to being conflicted about the Apple-Amazon issue. I get the point being made by activists, but making content available strikes me as a little different than selling guns. There’s a lot of crap on both services that I have no intention of ever watching, but ZI’m not sure it is worth boycotting over. But I’m torn.