Ammo Shortage May Last Until 2021

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posted on August 20, 2020
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Vista Outdoor CEO Christopher Metz’s quarterly earnings call, which took place earlier this month, indicates the current ammunition shortage may continue at least until 2021—perhaps longer.

“July firearms background checks were another triple-digit month, and we have said many times that ammunition sales typically take multiple months to catch up,” Metz told investors on the conference call. The comment indicates it may be the end of the year before retailers are fully stocked again, assuming cartridge demand stabilizes.

Olin’s quarterly report, also issued earlier this month, endorses that observation. The company said its Winchester Ammunition division experienced a 17-percent increase in orders during the three-month period.

“We expect this elevated level of demand to continue at least until the end of the year,” Olin CEO John Fischer said during his earnings call.

A Presidential election in November will have an impact on the prediction.  

Metz’s comments confirm the ammunition shortage is not confined to specific regions of the country, a fact retailers reported to Shooting Illustrated last month.

“…[A]cross the retail channels, wholesale channels, everywhere, inventories are very lean, and in fact factories are running full out just to supply that demand,” he said.

Metz noted the situation is not a byproduct of manufacturing shutdowns during shelter-in-place orders.

“The first quarter demonstrated again, why and how Federal, CCI, and Speer are the world leaders in ammunition manufacturing,” he said. “In a rapidly growing and unpredictable market, our team was able to make real-time adjustments and operations to meet market demands and simultaneously leveraged our commercial strengths…And as a result of our continued focus on employee safety, our ammunition operations have stayed open through the pandemic.”

As for hoarding, “We’re seeing stockpiling happening to a certain degree, but the free time has given people more opportunities to recreate in real time,” Metz said.

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