Smith & Wesson doesn’t anticipate gun sales will plummet in post-2016-election fashion this November, according to comments made by company President and CEO Mark Smith to investors during a Sept. 3 earnings call that followed the company’s record-setting quarterly report. His answers to questions about the challenges the company faced as it continued and even increased production during the pandemic also provide insight into the dedication of those who manufacture firearms.
Smith concurred with one caller that there’s a portion of the current surge that can be attributed to politics, but, “…a large portion of the demand is driven by folks who are just fearful of their personal protection and safety with—starting with the pandemic and moving onto the civil unrest.”
“So I think it’s going to be different,” he added. “After this election, I’m not anticipating that we’re going to have the large fall off that we did.”
As for the early weeks of the pandemic and the challenges faced when integrating health-mandated safety requirements with the manufacturing process, he admitted, “We definitely had some efficiency and impact as we were kind of relaying our lines out and putting barriers in between stations that couldn’t socially distance, etc. But as we now, you know, we’ve been dealing with this for the last six, seven months. I think we’ve kind of hit our stride. Our operations management team, I cannot say enough about what an absolutely tremendous job they did and really being able to keep all of our employees safe first and foremost, and then, react to this increase in demand that we saw. And really, it’s kudos to them for these results...”
Despite that challenge, the company has increased production during the pandemic, a feat Smith said was made possible by the firm’s flexible manufacturing model. Smith & Wesson more than doubled its sales (124.8%) during the company’s latest quarter when compared to the same three-month period in 2019.