Smith & Wesson Says Handgun Sales Remain Strong

 @gmorcroftg.morcroft@ibtimes.com on June 20 2014 8:51 AM

Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. (NASDAQ:SWHC), one of the nation’s largest gun makers, on Thursday reported record sales in its just-ended fiscal year despite a slowdown in the fourth quarter. The numbers are part of a gun-buying binge over the past several years sparked by strong political passions among gun owners and gun rights activists worried about potentially stricter gun control by the Obama administration in response to recent mass shootings.

Here are some highlights from the company’s earnings report, released late Thursday.

Fourth quarter

Net sales for the fourth quarter were $170.4 million, a decline of 4.6% from the fourth quarter last year. Excluding Walther products that were sold in the prior year pursuant to an agreement that has since ended, net sales declined 1.5%, reflecting strong handgun sales offset by lower long gun sales.

Gross profit for the fourth quarter was $69.7 million, or 40.9% of net sales, compared with gross profit of $68.4 million, or 38.3% of net sales, for the comparable quarter last year. Gross profit improved as a result of a favorable product mix, absorption, and manufacturing efficiencies, as well as reduced promotions and the absence of lower-margin Walther product sales.

Fiscal year

Net sales for the full fiscal year were a record $626.6 million compared with $587.5 million for the prior fiscal year, an increase of 6.7%. Excluding Walther products that were sold in the prior year pursuant to an agreement that has since ended, net sales increased 13.8% over the prior fiscal year. Firearm unit production for fiscal year 2014 increased by 16.2%.

Gross profit was 41.3% compared with 37.1% for fiscal 2013.

Outlook

The company expects net sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2015 to be between $130.0 million and $135.0 million and GAAP earnings per diluted share from continuing operations of between $0.23 and $0.25 for the first quarter of fiscal 2015. It should be noted approximately one week of the company's annual two-week shutdown will occur in the first quarter, reducing production by approximately $6 million to $8 million.

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