The so-called Trump Slump. Does it exist, or not. Well, there’s a lot of evidence that it doesn’t. However, there’s also some evidence that something is going on. In addition to Federal Premium Ammunition’s difficulties, we now have Sportsman’s Warehouse citing slow sales of guns and ammo as the reason for their weak third-quarter earnings.
Top executives for Sportsman’s Warehouse blamed guns and ammunition for the retailer’s sales loss in its third quarter.
Chief Executive Officer John Schaeffer told investors Thursday same store overall sales for the chain declined 7 percent for the quarter ending Oct. 28 — driven by a 12.4 percent dip in demand for firearms and a 19.4 percent loss in ammunition.
“Our third quarter results were largely in line with our expectations and reflected continued softness in firearms and ammunition as well as a shift in the timing of a planned third quarter new store opening into the fourth quarter,” he said in a press release Thursday. “We again navigated a difficult operating environment but were pleased to deliver gross margin expansion … and make continued progress against our key strategic priorities as we focus on driving further market share gains.”
Strength in the retailer’s sales for modern sporting rifles and shotguns helped offset persistent weak demand post-election, Schaeffer said, citing a 6.6 percent spike in both categories over 2016 — the industry’s biggest year on record.
“We believe this reflects the more consistent trends within this area of firearms,” he said. “In terms of ammunition, the 19.4 percent decline we experienced in quarter three we believe, in large part, reflects customers’ reluctance to purchase ammunition at full price, which has risen rather dramatically over the past seven years.”
However, if the weakness of the gun market is because of the lack of a perceived threat of further gun laws restricting future ownership, then the fourth quarter should be a much different matter.
After all, we now have a push to ban all modern sporting rifles because they make liberal politicians get a case of the vapors.
If that’s all it’ll take to trigger gun sales, then it’s going to be nice Christmas for gun companies and retailers alike.
Of course, I wouldn’t hold my breath on that. While some may be concerned over proposed regulations, most recognize that there’s not really a viable threat to our rights. As it stands now, we have lawmakers grandstanding by proposing legislation they know won’t see the light of day. After all, even Democrats know they’ll lose seats if they really try to push an anti-gun agenda too hard.
There’s not going to be an assault weapon ban…but if the gun industry decides to operate and push like there is a strong possibility of one, who can blame them. Their livelihoods are on the line, after all. They might as well make any ethical efforts they can to boost sales, even if it’s potentially overstating the threat to our Second Amendment rights.
If that happens, then we’re likely to see retailer be very, very happy come next year, and for good reason.