Winchester: Ammo demand still ’robust’

Winchester-ammo

A man prepares to cough outside the Winchester Ammunition booth at a trade show in Las Vegas in 2015. (Photo: Daniel Terrill)

Consumer consumption of ammo has remained strong since the surge in demand started roughly three years ago, Winchester Ammunition executives said during their quarterly conference call last week.

“Consumer demand for pistol, shot shell, rifle and rimfire ammunition was robust in the second quarter,” said John Fischer, president and chief operating officer of Olin Corp., the parent company of Winchester.

In 2015’s second quarter, Winchester experienced a 12 percent increase in commercial shipments compared to the year before. Sales totaled $194.2 million by the end of 2Q, up $13.2 million from the same time in 2014.

The increase in sales breaks down to $6.1 million from commercial customers, $5 million from the military, $1.5 million from law enforcement, and $600,000 from industrial customers.

Six months into the year, Winchester raked in $372.9 million in sales, an $8.7 decrease from six months into last fiscal year.

For many firearm companies, sales dropped off significantly when compared to performances in 2013. Sales peaked that year during a push for stricter federal gun laws in the wake of a massacre of 20 first graders and six educators by a deranged gunman in Connecticut in December 2012.

“The strength of the business is also reflected in the commercial backlog which at the end of the quarter with an excess of $255 million,” he said. “Again as the point of reference, to June 30, 2015 commercial backlog was more than doubled the pre-surge June 30, 2012 backlog of $124 million.”

Winchester forecasted steady and consistent results in 2015 not just because of the backlog, but by what they say is an increase in gun owners who have taken up target shooting as a hobby.

In addition to steady demand, Fischer said the company has experienced a reduction in year-over-year commodity cost.

“We currently expect the full year 2015 purchase cost for copper and lead to be lower than the 2014 price and the full year 2015 purchase price for zinc to be higher than the 2014 price,” he said.

Winchester is based out of Alton, Illinois, but has been transitioning to facilities in Oxford, Mississippi.