Monday, March 23, 2009

Walmart and ammunition shortages

A lot of people have become accustomed to buying their ammunition at Walmart. Good brands, good prices.

For instance, the Winchester 'white box' value packs have been a staple for those of us who attend pistol and rifle training classes. It's a convenient way to get ammo in bulk without paying shipping charges. But in the last year, since it began to appear that NObama (all hail the Dark Lord!) would be elected people have been buying ammunition even more than they've been buying firearms. After all, if you can't feed 'em, what's the good of having 'em?
The fact that
the shelves have been mostly bare for the last couple of months in most of the Walmart stores which my friends and I frequent has led to fear and speculation: fear that no more ammo would be forthcoming, and speculation that Walmart had decided to get out of selling ammo the same way that they had dropped the sale of firearms in some of their stores.
On some email lists there have been stories of men coming into the local Walmart not less than twice a day to see if more ammo had arrived on the trucks, and then buying every round that was delivered - not just .40 and 9mm and .45 but everything. The assumption is that at least some of that was being resold, but who knows? Maybe some guys just have really big garages where they're storing this stuff!
In addition, other big box stores such as Cabelas seem to be getting ammo into stock again, as have some vendors that are only a fraction of the size of Wally World. If they're finding ammo to sell, why can't Walmart, with its incredible buying power, get more into the pipeline? Is something nefarious going on?
So today I called the media relations number at Walmart corporate. The young lady there took my name and number and said someone would return my call. Sure as shootin', this afternoon I got a call from Jason Wetzl, a spokesman for the company. After I told him who I was and something of my bona fides and history, and outlined our questions and concerns, he very forthrightly responded.
The bottom line is this - Walmart is buying all the ammo that they can get, but the manufactuers simply can't make it fast enough to meet demand. He pointed out that Walmart sells vastly more than anyone else, including Cabelas and all the rest, and that with the traffic that they get in their stores they just have more people buying whatever is there.
In the end there are two salient points to what he told me:
One, Walmart has its buyers out there buying all the ammo that they can get so they can stock their stores, and:
Two, Walmart is NOT getting out of the ammo business, has no intention of that, isn't doing anything fishy. They just can't sell what they can't get delivered to them.
Big thanks to Mr. Wentzl for taking the time to call and answer my questions, and to Walmart for continuing to support American gun owners.

(Now I just have to get out to my local store and find those two guys who've been buying up all the stuff, catch them in the parking lot, knock 'em on the head and slash their tires so the rest of us have a chance at it .....)


Anonymous said...

The Wal-Mart ammo shortage is being created by a few situations. 1.
The supply has been backed up to the point where it is the companies supplying the ammo.
The system reorders manually based on rate of sale. That means stuff with no rate of sale gets no orders, it has to be back in the warehouse then it reorders several days later. By that time the small supply has been sent out.
The way around this is to handorder the ammo as soon as it shows back in stock at the warehouse. If your store gets lucky and you hit it right you get a huge supply.
.22s seem to be starting to build up stock, easier to get. Federal/Remington easier to get. Winchester has been the slowest to respond, only 12/20g come in, but I think they're from a differnt plant. All handgun ammo is in short supply, but Remington is coming in regularly, people just buy it too fast. Federal has been generally better than the other suppliers at meeting the demand.

Hard rounds to get are all handgun rounds. The rifle rounds can be gotten fairly easily, if you timing is right. Customers keep buying mass quantities. We sold an entire endcap of 100 round bird shot in two days, but there isn't any shortage of supply it seems. We sold 80 value packs of .22s to one guy over 3 days.

We did manage to get a supply of 500 or so value packs so we'll see how that goes. The smarter stores that actually have someone trying to boost sales will have a fairly decent stock of mostly everything except winchester and remington handgun ammo. If your store is out of deer slugs that is the fault of letting the system order.

Anonymous said...

I just got back from the Walmart in Pico Rivera, CA, and I bought 300 rounds of Federal Champion 9mm 115 gr at $9.47/50 rd box. I asked the lady how many I could buy and she said there was no limit. Nice. Too bad I'm short on cash; otherwise I would have bought more than 6 boxes.

S. Ammunition for sale said...

Thank you for this blog! I find it very interesting that the one of the select few places that offers ammunition for sale, is having a shortage. I wonder what the exact cause is.