Customers flock to Sportsman's Warehouse after other retailers ditch ARs

Shooters line the rails of the gun counter of the Sportsman’s Warehouse in Southhaven, Mississippi. (Photo:

Recent financial filings suggest customers flocked to Sportsman’s Warehouse this summer after several major retailers and banks cut ties with manufacturers of modern sporting rifles.

Chief Executive Officer John Barker told investors Thursday gun sales spiked 8.3 percent in the 13 weeks ending Aug. 4, helping boost overall semiannual sales to $383.3 million, a double-digit increase over 2017.

“So we are picking up market share as we continue to focus on doing what we do correct,” said Chief Financial Officer Kevan Talbot. “And obviously, our competitors have made certain decisions that are impacting that. But our customers have realized that we continue to do it very well, as far as the sale of firearms, moving forward. And I think that’s a testament to one of our strengths.”

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 sever relationships with the gun manufacturers.

“Our continued outperformance of the industry and market share gains are attributed to our continued investments in assortment expansion, online capabilities and expertise for varying subcategories and all user types as we continue to capitalize on market share opportunities,” Barker said Thursday.

Loyalty program members increased 25 percent over 2017, according to Barker. He said the group of shoppers “spends more and shops more often” than typical customers, generating nearly half of the company’s revenue.

“Our loyalty customers shop about three times a quarter and as we tracked this historically, the average ticket from that customer is almost twice as much as the non-loyal customer,” he said. “So, obviously our ability to market to them in an effective manner is a key to the success of this program and we have done a lot to increase our marketing to them.”

The “pleasing” second quarter encouraged the company to revise its annual guidance to no more than $857 million, with sales overall up no more than 2 percent over 2017.

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