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Smith & Wesson misfire: Rifle sales drop 50%

December 4, 2014, 11:04 PM UTC
National Rifle Association Holds Annual Meeting In St. Louis
ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 14: A visitor handles a revolver at a Smith & Wesson display during the NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits April 14, 2012 at America's Center in St. Louis, Missouri. More than 60,000 people are expected to attend the convention, which runs through Sunday. (Photo by Whitney Curtis/Getty Images)
Photo by Whitney Curtis—Getty Images

People just aren’t stocking up on firearms the way they used to.

Gun maker Smith & Wesson said on Thursday that rifle sales dropped by more than half in the Springfield, Mass. company’s latest quarter. The steep decline is part of a 22% dip in overall sales for Smith & Wesson, according to the company’s second-quarter earnings report.

Smith & Wesson (SWHC) blamed the sales misfire on a drop-off in consumer demand from last year, when the fear of potential government restrictions on gun ownership led gun-owners to stockpile firearms. Earlier this year, the company warned of lower gun sales in the U.S. going forward as part of a lowered sales forecast for the rest of the year.

Smith & Wesson shares dipped as much as 4% in after-hours trading as investors reacted to the latest disappointing sales numbers from the company, which has seen its stock drop 30% since the start of the year and reported overall sales that were off by 24% in the first quarter.

Also on Thursday, Smith & Wesson reported second-quarter profits of $5.1 million, or 9 cents per share, which is down from nearly $17 million in the same quarter last year. The company’s $108.4 million in second-quarter revenue actually beat Wall Street estimates (of around $105 million), but Smith & Wesson also delivered a lower than expected third-quarter outlook. The company expects earnings in the current quarter to fall between 9 cents and 11 cents per share, while analysts were expecting 21 cents per share.