I don't believe firearms sales are driven by new female shooters, nor by hunters. Individuals are arming themselves for the purpose of self defense, at home and at work. There have been some frightening acts of random violence recently, including rioting OWS protestors in Oakland, roaming gangs of armed men in New Orleans after Katrina, and armed terrorists on the loose in Boston after the marathon bombing. All those events stimulated firearms sales. In addition, Americans have huge amounts of disposable income to spend on televisions, telephones, golfing, and firearms, I believe this is related to the high per capita GDP in the U.S. In other decades, the excess income might have been spent on food and shelter, but it has grown too large for that purpose.
One method for measuring the size of the population of firearms owners might be to estimate the size of the trade groups, and their rates of growth. It seems to me that NSSF is an extremely small subset of NRA members, which in turn is a small subset of firearms owners. For example, the NSSF, the trade group for the shooting ranges and manufacturers, says it has more than 10,000 members. I have a new NSSF membership card numbered 94,201, far greater than the purported 10,000 members. If I let my membership lapse, and rejoined in one year, I could use the two numbers to estimate the growth rate. The NRA represents many, but not all shooters, because it charges $50 for dues. Many owners would choose not pay $50 per year in dues. NRA membership numbers seem to be a secret. I had an NRA card but I discarded it before I looked at the number. I was trying to get a free book about ammunition types, but they sent me a baseball cap instead. Anyway, I think it's pretty hard to use these two organizations as a measuring tool.
From the NYT:
It is difficult to pinpoint how many gun owners in the United States are women — the federal government does not break down background checks by demographic, and most manufacturers do not release information on sales. But Peggy Tartaro, the editor of Women and Guns magazine, a nonprofit publication of the Second Amendment Foundation, said she had found estimates varying from 12 million to 17 million.
Today's 8-K filing shows the powerpoint slides for tomorrow's presentation.
We can learn:
(1) NSSF adj NICS for February 2014 were 1,264,010. This information is not public information yet, but it was published on the Ruger board by vncaa who subscribes to NSSF data feed.
(2)Q4 estimated revenues of $178.7 million roughly equal to 2012Q4 adjusted for Walther
(3)diluted EPS for Q4 of 37-40 cents/share slightly down from 2013Q4 of 44 cents/share continuing ops
(4)S+W will not lose sales because of California microstamping law because will still be able to sell California compliant
(5)Statistics galore presented about new shooters, women shooters---from these stats we can figure out how many new women shooters, how many new shooters, there are....Source for this info is evidently NSSF data feed.
They don't sell handguns, and they don't sell MSR's. And you can't see any firearms for sale on their website, you need to go to the store. So I think they may be exiting these lines of business.
Dick's doesn't sell MSR's, and they don't sell handguns. They sell ammo, and certain rifles. Conf Call from Q42012 mentions about the handguns:
FROM Q42012 Conf Call
Edward W. Stack - Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
The inventory has certainly been a struggle as it relates to ammunition. On the hardlines aspect of it, we haven't seen as much -- you may or may not know, we don't sell handguns and haven't sold handguns for 20 years. So we're not experiencing any issues around handguns. But the ammunition has been very difficult to keep in stock. We actually have people who call the store every morning to find out if we got ammunition, they come in and buy it. This is -- but we don't expect the ammunition supply to be fixed anytime soon
#$%$ suspended sale of all semiautomatic rifles, and also removed all guns from certain stores, on December 18, 2012. That means #$%$ will have poor comparable store sales of guns and ammo until December 2014. What am I missing?
On the other hand, KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Scott Hamann is exercising a more wary approach after the positive results and recommends SELL Smith & Wesson. Scott said he is “still cautious on the firearms industry and anticipates Smith & Wesson will face moderating demand.” Scott has a 2.6% average return over S&P-500
Scott usually puts out the negative notes between the time NSSF adj NICS are available to high-end NSSF subscribers, but before they are available to retail investors. He likes days when the entire market is plunging. He only has about twenty-four hours to get the note out, if he's going to maintain his pattern.
By the way, the February 2014 NSSF adj NICS was a very strong number, about 78% of the 2013 surge number 1,634,000. Much better comparison than the January 2014 vs. January 2013 comparison, 970,000 versus 1,790,000, or about 54% of January 2013 levels.
I agree that comparisons between two companies using different fiscal years are problematic.
SWHC has "California compliant" versions of the M&P Shield and the polymer pistols. I don't recall hearing that Ruger has any "California compliant" pistols.
Mr. Debney wants distributor inventory less than 8 weeks, which is almost exactly the same as Mr. Fifer's 6-8 "turns" (52/6=8.7 weeks, 52/8=6.5 weeks).
SWHC reported results today and shares jumped. Ruger shares declined. Which results are better?
Q4 Net Sales Growth------28%-----16.7%
EPS Continuing Ops-------33%----34.6%
Quarterly Gross Margin---35%----40.2%
Operating Margin-----------25%- ----21%
The third change is the most important. It wouldn't be much of a stretch to go from storing the names of gun purchasers who had been denied to the names of people who had been approved. Then you'd have the database you always wanted.
OK. What I really need to know is what is the celestial constant? North Star?
Jeff Buchanan CFO estimated production days in conference call Sept 5 as follows:
Est. Production Days
10 analysts' consensus revenue estimate for SWHC for the third quarter is $142 million. That is only fractionally better than revenues for the quarter ending October 31, when the factories were closed for two weeks for hunting season and ERP conversion. Then, revenues were $139.3 mn, and earnings were $17.1 million.
Simply because of the increased number of production days, it seems likely to me that SWHC will easily outstrip the estimated revenue number, and perhaps will achieve $178 million, as in the first quarter last year. I assume that SWHC is selling all its production.
Earnings estimates are more difficult because of seasonal factors (end of year accounting, January promotions for trade shows).
Newspaper writers and analysts constantly fret about the difficult NICS comparisons from the surge last spring. In my opinion, those NICS numbers are irrelevant for the firearms manufacturers, who were inventory constrained. They are highly relevant for the retailers, like Cabela's, who had plenty of inventory [I think--I have to fact check this] and could mark-up prices in the face of high demand..
We just saw Ruger beat revenue estimates, and then shares got knocked down because of missiing earnings estimates. The estimates were purged from Yahoo pages within seconds of Ruger reporting results. I suggest you print out the page of estimates, in case they disappear suddenly.
You might speculate that gross profit margins depend on (1)total sales, and (2)decreases in the fourth quarter at any particular sales level.
For example, gross profit margins were higher in 2012 versus 2011, because of higher absolute sales. But the fourth quarter in each year was a lower profit margin than other quarters with similar revenues.
If I were estimating SWHC results, if I found time to look at the filings, I would estimate: (1) Revenues will be identical to the second quarter (because production is sold out), but gross profit margin will be about 4% lower than in the second quarter, and (2)EPS will be reduced compared to Q2 because of the declining gross profit margin. Cannot compare with Q3 because of one-time issues related to new computer software at SWHC.
Freedom Group is strong in Modern Sporting Rifles (Bushmaster) and ammunition. The Cabela's CEO said in their conference call that you don't see people with a shopping cart full of ammo and a MSR anymore. So Freedom Group might be worse off than manufacturers who don't specialize in these two areas.
FREEDOM GROUP GROSS PROFIT MARGIN 2012 and 2011 by Quarter
Sales Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
2012 205.6 233.8 237.9 254.6
2011 176.1 190.5 198 210.4
2012 70.3 80.1 82.2 81.1
2011 44.3 56.1 55.2 63.9
Gross profit margin
2012 34.2% 34.3% 34.6% 31.9%
2011 25.2% 29.4% 27.9% 30.4%
Freedom Group Guidance versus YTD results
---------------Sept 30 YTD----Full Yr Guidance-Percent change-
Revenue--$1020 mn-------$1263 mn----23.8%
EBIDTA---$207.9 mn-------$240 mn------15.4%
This implies significantly lower profit margins in Q4 for Freedom Group, although sales are continuing at same pace.
A few miscellaneous topics from the annual SEC filings:
Price increases in January are usually around 1% on an SKU-weighted basis, according to Mr. Fifer in the old conference calls.
Fourth quarter gross profit margin is usually less than the other quarters, because (1) the books are kept open a few weeks longer in the fourth quarter, so that all possible expenses can be applied against gross income, and (2) promotional expenses (e.g. buy ten rifles, get one free) are incurred in the fourth quarter, in anticipation of the January wholesaleretailer sales shows.
I miscalculated the fourth quarter EPS because I didn't realize Q4 is a bad one, in terms of gross profit margin. So the second quarter EPS was $1.63, while the fourth quarter was only $1.33, on nearly identical sales. That's mainly because of the habitual drop-off in Q4 gross profit margin.