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Shooting Industry March 2012 Digital Edition - Page 30

PROFITBank On The Stability Of Long-Gun & Accessory Sales By Greg Staunton I f you examine firearm sales the same way investors look at stocks or mutual funds, you’ll learn that long guns provide firearm dealers a sure, stable investment. While hand- guns are today’s thoroughbred, hot-selling performers — partly due to the current political climate — rifles and shotguns are the always-reliable mounts of your sales stable. At SHOT Show 2012, dealers expressed a “tremendous amount of interest in Galco’s new Culling Belt. Designed for African and Australian hunting and culling, the belt holds 20 rounds of high-power ammo.” How’s your stable looking? Are your rifle — both traditional and modern sporting (MSR/AR) — and shotgun sales, with ammo and accessories, the steadfast part of your business? They should be. Southwick Associates keeps a finger on the pulse of firearm and related sales and activity. The results of their latest-available survey (November 2011) show rifles continue to be the “most frequently purchased firearm” (47%), and of those rifles, traditional boltactions lead the way (55%) as the “preferred rifle action.” Shotguns come in third as the most-purchased firearm by consumers in November at nearly 29 percent, after handguns (38.6%). Pump-actions were the “preferred shotgun type” (31%) purchased, with 12-gauge the “preferred shotgun gauge” (55%). And there’s more good news. Southwick reports that in November, consumers also purchased gun-cleaning supplies, targets, gun cases or sleeves, magazines, rifle slings, benches and rests, recoil pads, choke tubes and traps, and target-throwing devices — all solid profit-builders. Of course, the number of accessories for the modern sporting rifle continues to grow, providing steady sales for dealers. Understanding your customers and their shooting preferences is a major key to success. In November, Southwick reports that 76 percent of consumers taking the survey went hunting. That’s not surprising, given the time of the year. Just as important, 56 percent of consumers went shooting during the month, with 71 percent of them shooting rifles. Hunting is vital to the success of dealers and the industry, and there are positive signs of increases in this segment of the market. The November Southwick survey reports that hunting equipment was the “most frequent” purchase by consumers. According to NSSF, 20 states have seen increases in hunting Bolt-action rifles were the top-selling firearm in November 2011, and Remington was the top-selling rifle brand. Remington celebrates a half-century of the Model 700 with the 50th Anniversary Edition Model 700 BDL. 30 MARCH 2012 Subscribe to SI DIGITAL www.shootingindustry.com

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