Gunmaker Sturm Ruger ramps up hiring as demand soars

Inventory decreased by 86% last year

Sturm Ruger & Co. is staffing up in order to meet the “historic surge” in gun demand that has depleted its inventory.

The Southport, Connecticut-based gun maker has hired 250 employees, mostly in production, since the middle of 2020 to help replenish its stocks as the surge in demand caused combined inventories in its warehouses and distributors to decrease by 86%, or 290,000 units, last year. Retailer inventory of Ruger also remains low.

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RGR STURM RUGER & CO. INC. 45.45 -0.04 -0.09%

The hiring spree resulted in a 30% increase in production during the second half of 2020. Ruger is continuing its hiring spree today.

“We are working hard to replenish inventories throughout the distribution channel as quickly as possible, so consumers can purchase the Ruger firearms that they desire,” Sturm Ruger CEO Christopher Killoy said on the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call on Thursday.

Gun demand skyrocketed late in the first quarter of 2020 and continued throughout the year as Americans desired protection amid the violence that swept through cities following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes, and as people craved socially-distant outdoor activities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Customers also bought guns in anticipation of regulatory changes due to the Democrats gaining control of the White House and both chambers of Congress.

Sturm Ruger on Wednesday evening reported 2020 sales rose 39% from the prior year to $568.87 million. Annual net profit was up 180% year over year to $90.4 million.

Shares were up 5.26% year-to-date through Wednesday after gaining 38% in 2020.