What If…….

There’s been a lot of “spitballing” throughout the industry since Walmart’s announcement that it will no longer sell certain ammunition calibers. Seems everyone from the manufacturers to the smallest retailer is trying to figure out what the decision means to them.

After all, it’s not often a retailing giant with a reputation for predatory pricing ever cedes market share of anything. And Walmart says they estimate the impact about 12-14 percent of the entire U.S. ammunition market. Since they’re innovators and pioneers in customer information collection, there’s no doubt they’re closer than a ballpark estimate.

Here’s one simple fact: ammunition consumers (shooters) across the country will now be forced to find another source for the fuel to run their guns. If you’re in California, for example, you’re going to be forced to look locally- there’s no option otherwise.

Certainly, it’s an opportunity for retailers -but there’s really no clarity on just what it might mean to small independents………

“It’s really a time of opportunity for small retailers,” Pete Brownell of the eponymous Brownells told me yesterday, “the core of our industry, small retailers are going to have an opportunity to get back some of the business lost by a retailer that focuses on squeezing the margins, not selling based on knowledge, experience and affinity.”

“To me,” he says, “it’s actually good news, although it’s never all good news when any company starts to give in to social pressure.”

He’s right on both points. Granted, some consumers will lose the ability to hit a Walmart for a box of rifle shells, diapers, orange juice and sodas. But they’ll now have a valid reason to go back to the stores where the shelves and displays are full of products they actually enjoy.