“The M&P SHIELD 380 EZ has definitely been very successful and it’s gained really good traction, it’s got a good following,” CEO James Debney said Thursday. “It’s become a very popular firearm with the consumer giving great feedback.” (Photo: Smith & Wesson/Facebook)
Top executives at Smith & Wesson credited the popularity of the M&P Shield 380 EZ pistol for boosting sales, despite lagging consumer demand industry-wide.
James Debney, chief executive officer of American Outdoor Brands, the gun maker’s parent company, told investors last week sales for both firearms and accessories increased more than 10 percent in its second quarter — defying a double digit drop in federal background checks, the historic indicator of the gun industry’s health over the last 20 years.
“The M&P SHIELD 380 EZ has definitely been very successful and it’s gained really good traction, it’s got a good following,” he said Thursday. “It’s become a very popular firearm with the consumer giving great feedback.”
Launched in February, the pistol — along with two new rifles and a .22-caliber rimfire handgun — accounted for more than a quarter of the company’s $111.8 in firearm sales in the 13 weeks ending Oct. 31. The outdoors segment generated an additional $56 million, thanks to bundling promotions and a focus on expanding Crimson Trace into the tactical and shooting sport categories, Debney said. He expects the company will release more than 250 new products next year as it expands its foothold in the outdoor recreation market.
“I am very pleased with our progress and I believe that we have an exciting journey ahead of us,” he said. “We are just getting started.”
Smith & Wesson’s performance boosted share prices more than 14 percent Thursday. The gun maker’s Chief Financial Officer James Buchanan raised annual guidance to no more than $635 million, according to regulatory filings.
The continued upswing follows conservative guidance issued from the company over the summer as the results of its “challenging” fiscal year — which ended April 30 — became public. Previously, Smith & Wesson projected tepid gun sales for the remainder of the year, though sounded more optimistic after a robust first quarter.
The results we shared demonstrate that we are positioning ourselves well to address an ever increasing portion of the overall shooting, hunting and rugged outdoor enthusiasts market,” Debney said. “We continue to gain traction, evidenced by the fact that nearly one-third of our revenue in the second quarter came from our growing outdoor products and accessories segment, offering consumers a broad and growing portfolio of highly trusted brands and products this quarter.”