Vista experienced ‘unprecedented decline’ in sales since election

The Vista booth at the 2015 SHOT Show in Las Vegas. (Photo: Daniel Terrill/Guns.com)

The Vista booth at the 2015 SHOT Show in Las Vegas. (Photo: Daniel Terrill/Guns.com)

Vista Outdoor’s chief executive officer Mark DeYoung explained the company’s fourth quarter results were a product of an “unprecedented decline in demand for ammunition and firearms” following November’s election.

According to Vista’s quarterly filing last month, the company reported a 5 percent decline in sales by March 31 and a 21 percent decline organically. Sales also dropped 11.5 percent from third quarter results, which covered the election as well as holiday shopping.

“We are experiencing unprecedented decline in demand for ammunition and firearms following the presidential election and softness in the retail environment. These impacts have manifested themselves in our results,” DeYoung said in a statement.

To address the softness, he said Vista will be expanding efforts to build a stronger presence among shoppers online and has plans to re-organize the company’s workforce and inventory.

Federal data shows national gun sales dropping 11.6 percent from January through March from the year before.

Vista owns dozens of brands that include Savage Arms and Stevens; big name ammo companies like Federal Premium, Speer, American Eagle; and more than 30 outdoor and shooting accessory companies.

Competitor Sturm, Ruger & Company reported results from the same timeframe that were only marginally different from last year, one of the biggest for gun sales. Yet, the company, which only makes guns, said it produced comparable results by creating a “promotionally charged environment” to move inventory and kept its stock price up by buying back 1.7 million shares.

Vista executives expect weak market conditions to continue, but eventually stabilize by the middle of next fiscal year.