Sweet Deals, Tenacity Power Sales And Recovery

By Russ Thurman

It is the year of sweet deals for consumers, with manufacturers throughout the industry offering more promotions than we’ve seen in a decade. The goal, of course, is to stimulate sales and recover from the significant downturn that’s battered businesses, large and small, since late last year.

Even major firearm manufacturers, who rarely offer consumer rebates are crafting attractive deals.

Smith & Wesson offered up to $75 cash rebates to consumers who purchased select pistols between April 1 and June 30. From July 1 through Sept. 30, consumers buying select M&Ps will receive two boxes of Hornady Critical Defense ammunition, two additional M&P magazines and a Caldwell Mag Charger Universal Pistol Loader.

Browning offered consumers a $100 rebate on several of the company’s shotguns, and a $50 rebate on select rifles and rimfire pistols. The promotion ran between May 26 and July 15.

From mid-May through July, Remington gave consumers up to $150 on the purchase of select rifles and shotguns and up to $100 on select handguns. Remington also has a dealer-directed promotion, which runs through the end of this month. Retail salespersons who sell five RP9, RM380 or R51 handguns will receive one free. Details are available at www.biggreenrewards.com.

Beretta gave consumers $500 back on the purchase of a DT11 or SO5 shotgun from mid-April through the end of July.

Thompson/Center Arms is offering consumers up to a $75 rebate through Dec. 31 with the purchase of select hunting rifles.

Other firearm manufacturers who have or are offering cash rebates this year are Armalite, Bushmaster, Century Arms, DPMS, Marlin, Savage and Walther.

Manufacturers offering additional products, upgrades, accessories or ammunition with the purchase of a firearm include Armscor, Colt, Daniel Defense, FN America, HK, Kahr Arms, Keystone, LWRCI, POF-USA, Springfield Armory and Stevens.

There are likely other firearm companies that could be added to this list, along with many non-firearm manufacturers who have or are offering rebates to consumers. Contact manufacturers or your distributors to learn what rebates are still being offered and to stay up to date.

Are you taking advantage of today’s promotionally charged environment? Smith & Wesson
and many other manufacturers have introduced sales incentives for customers.

Respectable Numbers

Dealers are taking full advantage of the avalanche of manufacturer promotions.

“It’s a very promotionally charged environment,” said Chris Killoy, Ruger president and CEO, in May at Ruger’s annual meeting of shareholders. “First quarter is always where we have promotions for our distributors and retailers. This year was no exception. Coming out of the election, you saw a lot of inventory. So we had to be aggressive on our promotions.”

In addition, dealers are nearly in constant “hot deals” and “blowout sale” mode, again, in an effort to move products. The all-out push to pull in consumers and stimulate sales is having an impact, and there are encouraging indicators the industry is gaining some traction in recovery.

June was a pivotal month, with all eyes on how hard the summer slump would hit the industry. NICS conducted 1,016,213 (NSSF-adjusted) background checks, a 10.9 percent decrease compared to June 2016. Such a drop is notable, but a bit of perspective is needed.

Last year, the number of background checks during June hit 1,140,088 (NSSF-adjusted), a 23 percent jump from the previous month and a 28.6 percent increase compared to June 2015. The significant increase drew national media attention, and many news organizations attributed the increase to the Orlando terrorist attack. However, dealers said the ever-increasing call for additional gun laws last year was the major factor motivating sales. This year, there is no such threat.

Also of note, the number of background checks in June was the second highest June in the history of NICS, second only to June last year. In addition, the number of background checks during the first six months of this year, while 6.97 percent lower than 2016, was 25.45 percent higher than 2015.

Thus, for a summer-slump month, June’s posting of firearm background checks is respectable.

Crucial Four Months

Yes, there are promising signs of recovery. However, the fact remains: It’s been a tough business year. Next month, we enter the fall/winter-selling season.

The next four months are crucial to all of our businesses, more so than in recent history. It will take tenacity to succeed, mixed with generous amounts of business flexibility, savvy and good old-fashioned hardheadedness — and an abundance of sweet deals for consumers.

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