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Firearms Industry Outlook - August 2021

As we all try to put 2020 behind us we're met with the challenge as businesses to figure out how we comp numbers that were off the charts in 2020. With the year past being such an anomaly, we've been monitoring industry trends to see where this ship is headed. As it stands and pretty much as expected the industry is down with a YOY comparison landing at -21% YTD in comparison to LY. I mean, c'mon... You didn't really expect the buying spree to continue, between the strain on our supply chain and the general public finally finding some calm, it was bound to slow down at some point. 
 
Because 2020 was so unusual we took a look at the numbers for both the 2018 and 2019 calendar years, to see if we could glean some insight from some more stable industry activity. When looking at 2020 versus 2018, the industry is trending up 57% YTD and against 2019 the industry is also trending up 42% YTD. We expected the 2019 numbers to result in a reduced uptick just because it was an election year, which is consistent with past election year trends. 

We're also monitoring month over month trends and as you may have expected and are probably experiencing yourself, the industry is experiencing a slight downward turn over the course of the last few months. May came in down at -8%, June, -5% and July resulted in a continued downward turn, coming in at -6%. Although there may be some speculation as to the cause of the downward turn such as supply chain constraints, dissipating pandemic concerns, etc., we would tell you that the downward turn is consistent with the last several years and based on our forecast, we should see a positive uptick come October. Current indications are that the industry should see a positive turn with an uptick of approximately +8% to +10%, which is consistent with the last several years.

As we all probably expected we're going to continue to see some what we'll call "normalizing" of both sales and product turn across the industry. We're already starting to see some evidence of prices beginning to trend down slightly. This was to be expected as markdowns on excess and aged inventory would need to happen sooner or later. The time is now to start evaluating your historical business trends from 2018 and 2019 in order to determine how best to balance both inventory and purchasing activities as well as to figure out where you can leverage positions to drive sales and footsteps. Our forecast for the time being, has the industry closing out the calendar year up 7% to 9% over LY. So all in all, based on the data available, the industry is looking pretty healthy throughout most of the country. 
 
If your numbers aren't within the realm of what the industry as a whole is experiencing, then it's time for you to really look internally to see what your best strategy is going forward to ensure your success through the remainder of the year. And if you need to lean on the experts or want a sounding board, feel free to pick up the phone and call, we're happy to help!
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