Industry Closes “Crazy Year Of Business”
To no surprise, overall firearms sales during December 2013 did not match those of record-setting December 2012.
During the final month of last year, NICS conducted 1,510,529 (NSSF-adjusted) background checks, a drop of 32.5 percent compared to December 2012. While some hoped, few believed the number of firearm sales during December 2013 would exceed or even approach the December 2012 number of 2,237,731 (NSSF-adjusted). That number stands as the highest monthly number of background checks in NICS’ history.
During December 2012, motivated by threats of presidential-driven gun control — and its accompanying massive media attention — consumers swarmed gun shops. They purchased firearms in record numbers and set in motion massive numbers of firearm sales in the early months of 2013.
While firearm sales began to cool in May, the scorching level of sales during January through April laid the foundation for the highest yearly number of background checks in the history of NICS. For all of 2013, NICS conducted 14,796,872 (NSSF-adjusted) background checks, a 7.4 percent increase over the 2012 total of 13,780,285 (NSSF-adjusted).
Making A Difference
For firearm dealers, 2013 provided plenty of twists and turns — yes, it was a “crazy” year for business.
“The close of 2013 went well, given all the matters dealers dealt with,” said Miles Hall, founder and president of H&H Shooting Sports Complex in Oklahoma City, Okla. “December sales were well below 2012, but that was no surprise. The first full quarter of 2014 will also be short, but maybe not as much as one might think. As I’ve stated, the ‘new norm’ is higher than before the bubble.”
Hall said his customer count during both November and December finished among the top 10 months at H&H. Note: Hall refers to his customers as “guests.”
“Our Black Friday business came in as the number one guest-count day ever and that is saying something, given what happened last year,” Hall said. “I am sensing an excitement among the guests here, and I am hearing similar stories from other Performance Oriented Dealers around the country. I would not call this a resurging, but the signs are promising.”
However, Hall says dealers face a number of obstacles in 2014.
“Clearly, we are feeling the strains of the unique challenges the shooting sports have,” Hall said. “At H&H, we talk about the idea that to be ‘understood,’ you must first ‘understand.’ Manufacturers need to understand their business and ours, their guests and ours.”
While there are challenges, Halls says there is ample opportunity.
“The [P-20] dealers who report to me are doing all that can be done to help the sport grow. The dynamics of the shooting sports have shifted and they are the connection to the end-user. The end-users are in the millions. Together we are making a difference. To be sure, it’s one step at a time,” Hall said.
To learn more about the P-20 dealers, read “Performance-Driven Dealers” in Shooting Industry’s January all-digital edition.
Mossberg Offers Dealers Free Guns
Mossberg is again giving away guns as part of its Triple Crown Stocking Dealer Program.
For 2014, dealers will receive a free Model 500 Pump Action shotgun (#50577) with every 10-gun package purchased. There is a limit of six packages (60 guns total) per program during the qualifying dates.
Dealers who purchase six packages also qualify for an additional free Model 500 FLEX Security Pump Action Shotgun with Pistol Grip (#50673).
As a bonus, dealers will receive a free Mossberg LED sign with any package purchase, with a limit of one sign per dealer location.
This year, Mossberg has made changes to the program, based on input from distributors and dealers.
“We offer very good incentives to our dealers who participate in the program,” said Tom Taylor, Mossberg VP of sales and marketing. “We listened to our dealers and we tweaked the program to make sure it had what they wanted, while still making it work for us financially. We also made it easier for dealers to participate in the program.”
The deadline to take advantage of the 2014 program is March 31, 2014.
NeverLost Gear Bag
NeverLost Retailer Program
NeverLost Outdoor Gear, a company that offers products designed by professional hunters and guides, has announced new retailer programs for 2014. NeverLost’s gear features a black-and-orange design, making the products “Easy to see — Hard to Lose.”
The line’s add-on system consists of three bases: the Gear Grab Bag, the Hunting Vest and the Hunting Belt. A variety of NeverLost pouches, bags and pockets can be attached to the bag, vest and belt, permitting consumers to create their own unique carry system. NeverLost also has a line of cases and bags that feature the company’s Dry Vault technology.
For retailers, NeverLost offers several programs, which, in addition to discounts and terms, include free shipping and a NeverLost display.
The features of the “Add-on Start Kit ‘L’ Store for USA and Canada” program: Purchase the customizable NeverLost Add-on system starting with the base units, the Gear Grab Bag, Hunting Vest and Hunting Belt and a variety of pouches and pockets. This program offers a 15-percent discount on the listed package price. This program also includes 5-percent, 30-day terms for qualified dealers or an additional 10-percent cash discount for payment in advance by cc/wire/bank check. Cost: $3,025.99 after discount (originally $3,559.30) As a bonus, once a dealer qualifies, he can buy other NeverLost products at the same discount.
There are three other NeverLost dealer programs available:
• “Add-on Start Kit ‘XL’ Store for USA/Canada,” which offers additional cash discounts.
• “Add-On Special,” which offers additional discounts up to 20 percent on Add-On products.
• “NeverLost Friends and Family Program,” which offers dealers and their staffs additional discounts for personal use — “NeverLost wants your team to put our products to the test!”
Long-time industry veteran Rob Walzer is handling the NeverLost Retailer Programs. You likely know him as the marketing director for Redring USA. He’s now managing both brands. He can provide all the details and additional advantages of carrying NeverLost Outdoor Gear.
Gather Around The Campfire
Since 2001, readers of Shooting Industry’s sister publication, GUNS Magazine, have gathered around the campfire to enjoy the keen observations of legendary gun writer John Taffin. In his first “Campfire Tales” in 2001, Taffin wrote:
“Once upon a time in this country, young men looked up to certain individuals with great admiration. These were not sports stars, Hollywood celebrities or musicians putting on a façade of respectability. These were people who faced real danger or adversity and triumphed through the strength of their character and moral conviction. These people were called heroes.”
Now, the entire collection of “Campfire Tales” is available for purchase in a PDF file. To purchase, visit the GUNS Magazine store at www.gunsmagazine.com/store/products/campfire-tales-2001-2003.
USA Shooting Honors Top Athletes
Congratulations to USA Shooting’s top athletes for 2013.
Recognizing their top performances, shotgun competitors Glenn Eller and Corey Cogdell have been honored as USA Shooting’s 2013 Athletes of the Year. In addition, pistol shooter Emil Milev and Paralympic competitor John Joss were recognized for impressive performances in their event disciplines.
“After coming off of a bad Olympics, I didn’t know whether I wanted to switch events or not,” Eller said. “It felt good to get back on the top of a podium this year and I want to continue to have that feeling this quad as we look towards Rio.”
“After my success in Spain [World Cup], I really felt like I had a breakthrough with my shooting,” Cogdell said. “I struggled a little toward the end of the season, but still feel like I had a great season.”
To learn how you can support our USA Shooting Team athletes as they prepare for the 2016 Olympics, visit www.usashooting.org.
By Russ Thurman
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