Retail titan Wal-Mart confirmed on Tuesday this week that it will no longer sell a broad range of semi-automatic rifles and similar sports firearms (such as the AR 15 used in the Sandy Hook school massacre) from its stores because sales have continued to slip, but apparently not because of any gun control concerns.
Kory Lundberg, a spokesperson for the firm, said the decision had been “in the works” for months and that manufacturers had been notified several months ago that Wal-Mart would be moving away from modern sports rifles.
Details on Wal-Mart’s decision to stop selling “modern sports rifles”
Retail king Wal-Mart officially confirmed rumors about its decision to pro-gun website BearingArms.com on Tuesday.
Wal-Mart spokesperson Kory Lundberg told the pro-gun website that slow sales was behind the firm’s decision, not politics.
“We previously carried modern sporting rifles in less than a third of our stores,” Lundberg told Forbes in a Wednesday interview. “Our merchandising decisions are driven largely by customer demand. In our everyday course of doing business, we are continually reviewing and adjusting our product assortment to meet our customers’ needs.”
Wal-Mart has been under pressure from a number of sources over the last several years to take assault rifles and shotguns such the AR-15 off of its shelves.
In his comments, Lundberg emphasized that customers are simply no longer excited about these types of weapons, so Wal-Mart is refocusing its firearms sales on “people who shoot clays and stuff.” He went on to claim that the timing of the announcement was related to Wal-Mart ’s transition from summer merchandise to fall merchandise, not by recent violence or the debate over gun control.
“This product, being what it is, obviously gets a lot more attention, but the process Wal-Mart is doing here is exactly the same as it would be if it were something on the grocery aisle,” Lundberg said in an earlier interview with the media.
Of note, around one-third of U.S. Wal-Mart stores currently carry modern sports rifles. The other two-thirds will not be impacted, nor will Walmart.com or Sam’s Club membership stores, which have never sold modern sports rifles.