Vista Outdoor—owner of Federal, CCI and other ammunition legends—announced late last week that its quarterly sales, for the period ending Dec. 27, 2020, set an all-time record for the company. Its sales were up 35-percent from the same reporting period the year before, coming in at $575 million. Shooting sports-related brands led the way with $402 million, a 41-percent improvement. The firm also purchased Hevi-Shot Ammunition.
“Continued strength in outdoor recreation markets, combined with our ongoing focus on execution excellence, resulted in strong top and bottom-line growth across the entire company,” Vista Outdoor Chief Executive Officer Chris Metz said when results were released. “Strong outdoor participation trends that began in the early days of COVID lockdowns have continued into calendar 2021 and do not appear to be slowing down.”
When asked about the ammunition shortage during a follow-up shareholder conference call on Feb. 4, Metz explained demand right now is currently, “…very, very different. And it’s probably the broadest base surge we have seen. So, it’s not just 5.56, .223 calibers, it’s 9-millimeter self-defense, it’s hunting loads, it’s centerfire, long rifle, waterfowl. You name it, across the board—every one of the categories has seen a surge.”
“Our acquisition of Remington [ammunition] is ahead of plan and we expect similar results with our just announced acquisition of Hevi-Shot,” he said during the call. “We most recently acquired Hevi-Shot Ammunition for a total of $16 million. This iconic brand is an innovation powerhouse, specializing in the manufacture of top-tier shotshells, bullets and lead-free technology.”
Vista’s plants are already working 24/7 to fill orders, but as the firm’s newly acquired factories spin up to capacity there’s an additional short-term challenge. The cost of shipping raw materials and product are skyrocketing, and those increases are expected linger through part of the year—perhaps longer.
One person on the conference call asked about the situation, and specifically addressed the shortage of cargo containers. “…The freight increases and the containers, it’s going to work itself out at some point in time,” Metz reassured. “It’s going to go on through the quarter, may even go on into the first quarter of our next fiscal year.”