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Gun sales plunge for Smith & Wesson owner

American Outdoor Brands posted lousy earnings Thursday, as the gun industry continues to suffer.The company, w...

Posted: Mar. 2, 2018 7:06 AM
Updated: Mar. 2, 2018 7:06 AM

American Outdoor Brands posted lousy earnings Thursday, as the gun industry continues to suffer.

The company, which owns the famous Smith & Wesson brand, reported a 33% year-over-year decline in quarterly net sales, and profits that sank 65%.

Shares plunged 18% in after-hours trading, and are down 26% year-to-date.

Related: A cloud hangs over the gun industry

American Outdoor Brands makes and sells a variety of guns, including a popular line of handguns and military-style semiautomatic rifles. These AR-15-style rifles are referred to as assault rifles by gun control advocates, but the industry calls them modern sporting rifles.

The company also said Thursday that it's eliminated 200 jobs last quarter.

On the earnings call, Chief Executive Officer James Debney addressed the Parkland shooting, saying "we share our nation's grief." But he added that the decision announced Wednesday by Dick's Sporting Goods to stop selling modern sporting rifles will have an "extremely small" impact on the company's sales.

Walmart stopped selling these kinds of guns in 2015.

Related: Who's still selling assault-style rifles?

Walmart, Dick's and the Fred Meyer stores, which are a unit of the Kroger grocery, all said this week that they will no longer sell guns to anyone under 21.

But gunmakers were struggling even before the latest backlash.

Sturm Ruger, which makes a variety of firearms including semiautomatic rifles, recently reported double-digit declines in sales and profits and has laid off hundreds of workers in the last year.

Vista Outdoor, which makes ammunition and also the Savage Arms brand of semiautomatic rifles, also reported dismal earnings earlier this year.

Remington, which makes the Bushmaster rifle used in the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, recently said it's preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

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