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Stock Up! Walmart’s Controlling the Inventory

September 14, 2015 - Larry Claypool
Time will tell if Walmart is pulling the polyester over our rangefinders. Is the mega store chain really closing out its AR-15 inventory because of slow sales or using that as an excuse to stop selling “assault-like rifles”? And they made the announcement on the same day two television journalists were killed in a useless shooting rampage in Virginia. Handguns were used in that shooting, but it doesn’t matter to the knuckleheads who listen to gun control advocates who don’t know the difference between a shotgun and a AR-platform rifle. For those who don’t know Walmart is this country’s biggest seller of firearms and ammunition. When sales were lagging in 2011 the Arkansas-based chain reintroduced firearms to many of its stores, “part of a broader strategy to add back merchandise and boost sales growth at U.S. stores”. Walmart has been selling modern sporting rifles at about one-third of its U.S. stores. In 2006, the company reduced the number and variety of guns it offered in stores and replaced them with more upscale products such as exercise equipment. According to NRA News, the voice of the NRA, “not all Walmart stores carry firearms, and those that do typically tend to sell much higher volumes of entry-level bolt-action rifles, lever-action centerfire rifles, single-shot shotguns, and pump-action shotguns. “Walmart has made the decision to sell out their remaining inventory of the discontinued firearms at closeout prices, and we’ve seen claims on the Internet of some lucky Walmart shoppers picking up Bushmaster AR-15s for as low as $250. In place of the discontinued MSRs and shotguns, Walmart will bring in other models of economical firearms to match the hunting-driven fall product mix,” added the NRA News. The company will continue stocking ammunition for the AR-15. My research online found a similar move from Walmart in April of 2006, which was mentioned in the NRA information above. In that move the store chain decided to stop selling guns in about 1/3 (1,000 at the time) of its U.S. stores. Then it was called, “a marketing decision based on lack of demand in some places”. And in “favor of stocking other sporting goods, in line with a ‘Store of the Community’ strategy for boosting sales by paying closer attention to local differences in demand,” said a spokesmen. Hogwash or not, there might be a Bushmaster AR available at your local Walmart for $250. Stock up! And if you’re a local Mom and Pop gun shop, you may be able to keep the lights turned on until Wally World sees another dip in sales. Now that I’ve covered that angle of the story, what about the talk of shareholders putting pressure on Walmart to not sell firearms? What! And a ‘historic’ Trinity Church in New York — who owns stock in Walmart — filing a lawsuit over the sale of “products that could endanger public safety and well-being”? What! How many church members does this church have? There must be a lot of money falling out of those collection plates. *This column originally ran in the September 2015 issue of Ohio Valley Outdoor Times


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