Last month’s national elections provided a much needed industry morale boost. There’s still plenty to be accomplished on the political front, but the real focus for most in the industry — at this moment — is on selling. That’s especially important during the holiday consumer-buying season, capped with crucial gift buying in December.
The importance of this time of the year for business success is not unique, of course, to the firearms industry. Except in rare product categories, most companies “live or die” based on the products and services sold during the closing months of the year.
For the industry, it’s difficult to recall a time when so many companies were so desperately dependent on successful holiday sales “just to keep the doors open.” Sales for most of 2014 have been soft, at best. Dismal, perhaps, best describes this year’s sales. Gone are any expectations of a record-setting close to this business year. Most are hoping for at least a “good” showing. Beyond that? Well, perhaps next year.
The downturn in sales has been especially tough for independent firearm dealers. Because of excessive firearm inventory, much of it heavily discounted, dealers are forced to sell guns at near-zero profit margins just to move product to increase cash flow and pay the bills. To make sales, dealers are relying heavily on firearm add-ons, package deals, products beyond the gun, generous giveaways on social medial channels and a significant number of manufacturers’ promotional deals and rebates.
Despite all the challenges, it’s not all doom-and-gloom. Since the beginning of hunting season, dealers have seen consumers returning in good numbers to ranges to tune-up for hunting, take a variety of training classes and make purchases. Improved ammunition supplies have helped pull in consumers. Dealers without range facilities are also reporting a substantial upswing in consumers, and while it’s far from a surge, it’s most definitely welcome. Yes, it’s a buyer’s market and consumers are taking advantage of plenty of sweet deals.
Many of these consumers are younger than the “normal” gun-buying demographic; an encouraging addition in the consumer market that’s been noted in a number of studies. Here’s hoping these consumers, motivated by a change in the political landscape and great deals, will exceed spending expectations and drive increased profits for dealers — and others throughout the industry.
That would create a much needed spark as the industry races to the beginning of the New Business Year, happy to close the books on 2014 — the year of the “new normal,” and one that was much more “interesting” than many would have wished for.
Lucas Oil Expands Into Gun Market
Lucas Oil, a brand best known in the auto, trucking, marine and racing worlds, has entered the firearms market with the introduction of Lucas Extreme Gun Oil. The company has an international reputation for products that can handle extreme heat, friction and heavy use. Company officials say Extreme Duty Gun Oil “offers superior burn-off resistance, unlike any other multi-purpose oil. An exclusive polymeric film protects from rust, wear and moisture.”
“We’re not your granddad or dad’s gun oil. We’re producing modern oil, and we’re the only automotive oil company that makes gun oil, so we know what we’re doing,” said Bryce Curry, Lucas Oil Outdoor Line director.
Curry is an industry veteran and seasoned gun dealer, who’s leading the introduction of Extreme Gun Oil.
“We want dealers and consumers to know our oil is the best and it costs a third of other oils,” Curry said. “Everything I’m hearing is we’re exceeding shooters’ expectations for our product. I know it’s the best product out there. Period. There’s not a single gun oil made that’s better than our oil. Overall, we’ve been very pleased with the reaction we’re receiving.”
Extreme Gun Oil comes in 1-, 4- and 8-ounce, and 1-gallon containers. It’s available to dealers through Brownells (www.brownells.com), Riley’s Inc. (rileysinc.com), and most recently DoubleStar/J&T Distributing (www.star15.com).
“DoubleStar was so impressed with the oil that we’ll have a presence in their SHOT Show booth (20061, 20063) in January,” Curry said. “We would like to meet with a lot of dealers to explain to the benefits of carrying the oil in their stores.”
For additional information, dealers and distributors should contact Curry via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help Us Launch The New Business Year
You’re reading the first of a two-issue set devoted to the New Business Year. It’s packed with business-building tips, forecasts for the New Year, hundreds of 2015 new products and more. In January, we’ll present additional insights into what 2015 will hold for business; along with a last-minute update on SHOT Show 2015, show exhibitor list and our pullout floor map, many more new products and heavy doses of tips on boosting business.
At Shooting Industry, we’re dedicated to helping businesses do more business. If we do that — especially for the independent firearms dealers — then we, too, will do more business. It’s what we’ve been doing as the industry’s business magazine since our first issue reached dealers in 1955.
Let us know your thoughts on what you think 2015 holds for the industry — on the political front and in business — what new products will be hot sellers and your plans for meeting the challenges of 2015.
If you’re attending SHOT Show 2015, stop by FMG Publications’ booth (16327). We’d like to shake your hand and learn from you what it will take to succeed in the New Business Year. We’ll also be giving away thousands of extra copies of the December and January issues of Shooting Industry, our SHOT Show floor map, along with copies of our sister publications, American Handgunner and GUNS Magazine.
Winchester Aims For 2015 Deer Season
For 2015, Winchester Ammunition introduces Deer Season XP, the first dedicated deer-hunting bullet ever designed by the company. Winchester makes it clear up front, the new ammo was “engineered specifically for one purpose — dropping deer in their tracks.”
It features a radical new Extreme Point polymer tip bullet, which offers an elevated ballistic coefficient for flatter trajectory and long-range accuracy potential. Once reaching the target, the bullet’s massive impact diameter creates an immediate and violent expansion.
Winchester says the Deer Season XP will be available in April 2015. It’s packaged in 20-round boxes in eight calibers ranging from .243 Win. to .300 WSM.
At SHOT Show 2015, you can check out Deer Season XP and Winchester’s other 2015 new products at booths 13129, 13329 and 13334.
Republic Forge Helps Dealers Sell 1911s
Republic Forge has redesigned its website, making it easier for consumers — and dealers — to customize their own American-made 1911s while sitting at a computer.
“Our new state-of-the-art website design simplifies the overall pistol customization process, allowing our customers to build a 1911 that best fits their needs and personality,” said Benny Deal, Republic Forge president. “At Republic Forge, we value quality over all else and that can be seen in the functionality and appeal of the site.”
Through the website, dealers and consumers can select their preferred 1911 model, frame and slide colors, sights, grips and more. Once done, consumers are asked to select their closest Republic Forge gun dealer to make their purchase.
The company has ramped up production to meet additional demand, and its expanding its dealer network.
“Building relationships with our dealers is like building our custom 1911 pistols — one gun at a time,” the dealer section of the website announces.
For more information on become a Republic Forge dealer, call (806) 648-1911 or email: email@example.com.
At SHOT Show 2015, visit the company at booth 3659.
Colt Rewards Loyal Customers
Dealers, you have until the end of the month to ensure your customers take advantage of Colt’s Loyal Customer Rebate Program.
Colt is offering a $100 prepaid rebate card for the purchase of a Colt O1991 Government Model pistol, and a $75 pre-paid rebate card with the purchase of an O6790 Mustang XSP or O6891 Mustang Pocketlite.
“The rebate program is a way for Colt to thank both new and loyal customers for their purchase of our products. We’re excited to launch this program to wrap up 2014 with our customers,” said Joyce Rubino, Colt’s Manufacturing Co. VP of marketing.
Qualifying purchases must be made during the rebate period of Oct. 15 – Dec. 31, 2014.
By Russ Thurman
Click Here To View The Shooting Industry December 2014 Issue Now!