SPRINGFIELD — Smith & Wesson parent American Outdoor Brands reported year-over year sales and earnings gains Thursday, citing cost cutting, successful new products and fewer costly promotions like consumer rebates.
Net sales were $138.8 million in the first quarter of the fiscal year that ended July 31, compared with $129 million for the same quarter last year, an increase of 7.6 percent.
American Outdoor Brands reported income for the quarter of $7.6 million, or 14 cents per share, compared with a loss of $2.2 million, or 4 cents per share, for the first quarter last year.
That beats analysts’ projections.
Stock analysts at Zacks Investment Research expected American Outdoor Brands to post quarterly earnings of 12 cents per share for the quarter.
The stock traded at $9.80 Thursday, down from $10.82 on Wednesday, $16.95 a year ago and a 52-week high of $17.82. The stock’s low point for the year was $8.32 in March, following a mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
American Outdoor Brands has 1,600 employees at its Springfield Smith & Wesson plant. It is advertising for production and professional workers in Springfield, at a plastics plant in Deep River, Connecticut, and at a new warehouse in Missouri.
The company changed its name in 2016 to reflect diversifying product lines like camping and hiking gear as well as shooting and gunsmithing tools and accessories.
“We are pleased with our operational and financial results for the first quarter,” James Debney, American Outdoor Brands Corporation president and CEO, said in a prepared statement. “Our increased profitability was driven by consumer preference for our new products, reduced promotions versus the prior year, and solid progress on a number of our expense reduction initiatives.
“In our Firearms segment, we introduced several new products and extensions under our Performance Center, M&P, and Thompson/Center brands. New products, which we define as products launched within the past twelve months, represented 28.5 percent of our firearm revenue and included strong sales of our M&P Shield 380 EZ pistol, which we launched in February. That pistol has been extremely well received by our consumers and continues to gain momentum,” Debney said.
Guns are a cyclical business with enthusiasts typically buying when a Democrat is in the White House out of fear that there will be more gun regulations. Demand slackens with a Republican president.
In June, American Outdoor Brands reported annual sales were down 33 percent in the last year and the company warned investors that demand would falter for a few years.
Fourth-quarter net sales were $172 million, compared with $229.2 million for the fourth quarter last year, a decrease of 24.9 percent, the company said.
On Sunday, marching students — including David Hogg, a survivor of the Parkland shooting — demonstrated just outside the gates of Smith & Wesson’s Roosevelt Avenue plant.
The Parkland gunman killed 17 students and staff with a rifle made by Smith & Wesson.
The company’s roots trace to 1852 when Horace Smith and Daniel Baird Wesson partnered to manufacture a firearm that used a self-contained cartridge.
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