Sportsman’s Warehouse: Gun sales booming thanks to corporate backlash

05/25/18 7:00 AM | by

Long time CEO John Schaefer stepped down Wednesday, completing a multi-year transition plan. (Photo: Sportsman’s Warehouse)

CEO Jon Barker said customers are flocking to the store to after major competitors imposed new restrictions on gun sales. (Photo: Sportsman’s Warehouse/Facebook)

Sportman’s Warehouse, a notable hold-out in the corporate backlash against modern sporting rifles, reported booming firearm sales this week.

Top executives for the outdoor retailer told investors Thursday policy changes from competitors drove more customers into their stores, spiking gun sales 15 percent during its first quarter ending May 5.

“We have a diverse mix of product and the recent changes in the competitive landscape are driving more customers into Sportsman’s Warehouse,” said Jon Barker, chief executive officer, during a conference call with shareholders Thursday. “This is creating market share opportunities by allowing us to engage with a broad range of customers from first-time users to seasoned hunters and shooters.”

The company’s net sales increased nearly 15 percent, raking in $180.1 million during the quarter. Barker called the results “exciting” after an uncertain year for the gun industry. No one at the company, however, can predict how long the bump in market share — combined with a boost in sales post-Parkland — will last.

“There is clearly a combination of pull forward that happened in quarter one and market share gains,” said Kevan Talbot, the retailer’s chief financial officer. “We can see it in specific regions where we compete against some of the competitors who have made changes. We’re hearing it from our customers on a daily basis.”

Sportsman’s Warehouse assured investors in April there’s no plans to follow in the footsteps of other retailers — namely Dick’s Sporting Goods — by imposing restrictions on gun sales over and above federal law. Dick’s, Walmart, Kroger and L.L. Bean all implemented age restrictions on gun sales after the Parkland shooting, while major financial institutions moved to cut ties with the gun manufacturers.

“As far as a Sportsman’s Warehouse changing their policies around regulated materials, we are continuing to monitor the situation and have ongoing conversations to make sure we understand what’s happening in the political arena and regulation,” he said. “But we continue to support the lawful sale of firearms under the Second Amendment rights of our customer and at this point we have no intent or plan to change the way that we approach that.”

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