Gun sales nationwide in 2021 dropped when compared to 2020—estimated at 18,515,188 and 20 million, respectively—but Ruger’s sales grew. The company’s quarter report, issued late last month, reflects an increase in net sales to $730.7 million, up from $568.9 million.
Chief Executive Officer Christopher J. Killoy told investors, “2021 was a year of great accomplishments and financial results. We began the year with virtually no finished goods inventory, so our 28% increase in sales and 109 percent return on net operating assets were only possible due to the tremendous efforts of our dedicated workforce who kept our factories humming throughout the year. In addition to increased volume, enhanced labor productivity and other manufacturing efficiencies drove greater profitability.”
The firm also breathed new life into a beloved line of firearms late last year. “Another highlight in 2021 was the reintroduction of the Marlin brand as we shipped the first Ruger-made, Marlin lever-action rifles in December,” Killoy said. “Our expansive product offerings, which range from personal-protection pistols, to bolt-action hunting rifles, to our classic revolvers, to the new Ruger-made, Marlin lever-action rifles, provide some stability in the volatile firearms market and allow us to fulfill demand in many of the diverse sectors of the industry."
One investor noted Rugers are all made in America during a follow-up conference call, but asked if the company can meet the high demand for Marlins while maintaining the policy. Killoy explained Ruger has already addressed the situation at its Mayodan facility in North Carolina, which has been the lead on Marlin production. He responded, “We recently leased another facility nearby about the same square footage…and that gives us opportunity to move our finished goods over there, move our call center there and…allow us to put additional production lines in that facility.” Model 1894s and 336s are already in the works at the location.
Other details in the report included the fact that Ruger invested $1.5 million to maintain the safety and health of its employees during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company also increased its finished goods inventory last year and, “Distributor inventories of the company’s products increased 125,000 units, but remain below the level needed to support rapid fulfillment of retailer demand for most products.”