Smith & Wesson CEO: Rebates spur gun sales amid soft demand
By Daniel Terrill
A Smith & Wesson representative admiring (probably) the awe expressed by patrons of Smith & Wesson products during SHOT Show in Las Vegas in January 2017. (Photo: Daniel Terrill)
Gun maker Smith & Wesson attributed fourth quarter success to promotions, giving explanation as to how high volume gun sales have persisted amid a decrease in demand.
James Debney, chief executive officer for American Outdoor Brands Corporation, owner of Smith & Wesson, told investors Friday the gun company issued rebates for popular firearms — like the M&P Shield, Bodyguard and SDVE pistols — directly to customers rather than to retailers through distribution chains.
Prior to November’s election, gun companies and retailers created a surplus of inventory as they expected different election results. With pro-gun Republicans in the White House and making up a majority in both chambers of Congress, politics has had limited influence on consumer habits unlike the years before. As a result, weak demand has clogged inventory channels and slowed production.
While Smith & Wesson extended rebates directly to customers, most of the inventory moved from participating retailers, like Cabela’s or Academy Sports, which receive guns directly from the manufacturer. However, Debney described the rebates as having a limited impact on wholesalers.