Smith & Wesson shares jumped 12 percent in premarket trading early on Wednesday while fellow gun maker Ruger recently took an eight percent dip. Firearm manufacturers expect to do good business in 2014, but not as good as it was in the previous year. According to CNN Money, the Federal Bureau of Investigation recently released its data for background checks in January, which was about a third lower than the same period in 2013.
“Retail inventories, which had been in short supply last spring, have largely returned to normal now,” wrote gun industry analyst Rommel Dionisio. “Monthly comparisons have recently turned sharply negative, a trend we expect to last through at least May or June 2014.”
For gun owners, it means the run on guns and the much-bemoaned ammo shortage is coming to a close. Although some parts of the country are still finding it hard to get ahold of certain types of ammunition, such as .22 LR, the shelves in gun stores and even major retailers are slowly filling back up. For gun makers, 2014 is a return to business as usual from the boom year of 2013. Ruger CEO Michael Fifer told CNN that the company is preparing for more “realistic” sales levels this year, despite a net sales increase of 28 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013.
“The surge in firearms and ammunition is clearly winding down,” Cabela’s Chief Executive Thomas Millner told The Wall Street Journal.
The massive outdoor equipment retailer recorded a 10 percent slide in fourth quarter sales, something that Millner attributed to the dip in gun sales. Cabela’s executives also said that they are expecting gun sales to return to normal for 2014, and that shoppers will be shifting to other outdoor gear such as clothing or bags.
Smith & Wesson, however, increased its estimated sales for 2014. The company’s shares dipped six percent last week, but seem to have rallied in recent days. In the last quarter, Smith & Wesson brought in nearly $146 million in sales.
“We continue to believe that our industry is in the midst of an underlying long-term growth trend and our objective is to grow faster than the market,” Smith & Wesson CEO James Debney told Bloomberg Business Week.