Smith & Wesson Defies Gun Sales Trend, Aims Higher

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Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: SWHC) reported third-quarter fiscal 2014 earnings after markets closed on Tuesday. For the quarter, the gun maker posted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.35 on revenues of $145.9 million. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $0.26 on revenues of $136.24 million. Third-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimate for EPS of $0.29 on $142.7 million in revenues.

S&W bucked the recent trend among gun makers for missing estimates on weak sales. Sturm Ruger & Co. (NYSE: RGR) posted increases to both revenues and profits, but still fell well short of estimates when it reported results last week. To prove a point — firearms and ammo sales at Cabela’s Inc. (NYSE: CAB) were said to be down 50% in just the first six weeks of 2014 compared with a year ago.

Smith & Wesson’s CEO said:

We maintained our focus on increasing market share of our Smith & Wesson M&P polymer pistol family of products and thereby delivered handgun revenue growth of nearly 30% … Our financial results were highlighted by our delivery of double-digit growth in net income and the ongoing expansion of our gross margins, all while we continued to drive a number of initiatives designed to strengthen our business and return increased value to our stockholders.

For its fourth fiscal quarter, S&W guided revenue from continuing operations at $159 to $164 million and a GAAP EPS from continuing operations in a range of $0.37 to $0.40. The consensus estimate called for revenue of $164.54 million and EPS of $0.36.

For the 2014 fiscal year that ends in April, S&W expects sales from continuing operations to total $615 to $620 million. Full-year GAAP EPS is forecast at $1.39 to $1.42. The consensus estimates call for EPS of $1.33 on sales of $617.49 million.

S&W handily whacked estimates for the third quarter, much to our surprise. But the company’s revenue forecasts for next quarter and for the full fiscal year are right in line with the consensus estimates, leaving S&W with little room for error.

S&W shares were up nearly 7% in after-hours trading Tuesday, at $12.59 in a 52-week range of $8.25 to $15.56. The consensus target price for the shares was around $16.15 before the report.