For the last few weeks, shooting enthusiasts may have been paying more for bullets without realizing it. Vista Outdoor Inc., which owns a variety of firearms and ammunition companies, recently announced that it had increased the price of ammunition last month.
In an earnings call held last week, Chief Executive Officer Chris Metz told investors that the company first increased the price of ammunition in early January. A second price increase will come in April, he added. Both boosts in price were “in the low- to mid-single digits.” Vista owns Federal Premium Ammunition, CCI, Estate Cartridge, and Force on Force, among other shooting-sports and outdoor product companies. Commodity pressure led to the increase, Metz said.
The firearms industry has been experiencing a downturn. Stock prices have dwindled and sales are down year-over-year, based on figures from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, a barometer for firearms sales. Even the industry’s most established companies aren’t free of market impact. Remington, which was founded in 1816, announced it would file for bankruptcy earlier this week.
Vista reported sales of $581 million, an 11 percent decrease from the previous year, but still beat expectations. Since its earnings report on Feb. 8, shares have soared 14 percent.
“Shooting Sports recorded third-quarter sales of $286 million, down 21 percent from $361 million in the prior year quarter, as a result of persistent lower demand in the market for ammunition and firearms,” the executive said during the call.
Metz believes the ammunition price increase will ripple through the industry as competitors follow suit. Customers have been “very understanding” of the price increases so far, he said.
“We're fortunate that we have extremely close relationships with our customers,” he said. “We are putting forward price increases that we think are realistic and, so far, what we've seen from buying behavior is no real changes.”
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