Best Buy, like so many other B&M retailers, reported dismal December sales numbers Friday, with same stores sales down 6.5%. I mentioned in Friday's e-newsletter that any R1 Anime studio relying heavy on Best Buy for their sales volume (cough - ADV - cough) is going to be finding themselves in a tenuous situation going forward, but that's a discussion for another post. Perhaps I should say it like this 'If you are an Anime studio and the majority of your revenue stream is coming from Best Buy and not independent dealers, then you already have one foot in the grave...'
The only industry that seems to be doing very well right now is the gun business. In the post presidential election period, I begin to wonder just how much money has been funneled from casual spending on things like consumer electronics and cars into people buying (for whatever reasons) firearms and ammunition. While it's being grossly under reported in the MSM, the fact is that over the last 60 days guns sales have gone up exponentially. In fact SO MANY guns are apparently being sold, that the ATF recently put out this bulletin informing dealers that they are running out of form 4473, which is the form you have to fill out every time you purchase a weapon from a licensed gun dealer. The ATF authorized, for the first time in my memory, that they will now allow dealers to use photo copies of the form. It's seems that people are forgoing flat screen TV purchases to get a couple extra FN-FAL's, a SIG 556, another Romanian SAR2, maybe that pre-ban HK94 they always wanted, or that Mossburg 'Roadblocker' that you were thinking of buying but could never pony up the scratch until it became a priority.
As I travel in gun circles a little bit (hey, I read Xavier's blog), I can report that the experience of visiting any of the local Gun stores in the Winchester VA or Martinsburg WV area in November and December was akin to getting into a life boat during the sinking of the Titanic. Stores were mobbed, and inventory of guns and ammo were mostly sold out. I was told one major manufacturer of AR type rifles has booked a 2 year backlog in just two months. Ammunition is being bought up in record levels as well, and surplus stocks have vanished from all of the major Internet ammo dealers. Prices are going up very fast as well as people make 5 or 10 years worth of gun and ammunition purchases in a period of 60-90 days. And these purchases are not cheap either, with people happily laying out two or three grand to get their hands on whatever is available to take home today. Here's a good example - try finding a Barrett M82 in stock anywhere - and they sell for $9,000 each and are severely back ordered - also the ammo which sells for $4 bucks a round is also sold out just about everywhere unless you are willing to pay a handsome premium. Gun industry retailers, of course, have capitalized on this by fanning the flames whenever possible. Just look at the blurb (highlighted in Yellow) posted on the front page of the popular gun accessory store Cheaper Than Dirt.
It sorta reminds me of how the Anime business was in 2004. -_^ Ahhh, nostalgia...
Anyway, since the gun industry is made up mostly of small independent dealers and privately held distributors and manufacturers (much like the Anime industry) it's really hard to estimate what sort of dollars are being diverted to the gun industry right now, but my guess would be that it's a lot more than most people think. And it would be interesting to speculate on how much of the sales declines that regular stores saw in November and December could be attributed to this.
Even in this terrible economy, people are spending copious amounts of money on something, and this is what it is. I wonder why this is being so under reported by the MSM? Perhaps it's not exactly in line with the message they are looking to get across?
UPDATE: Now that we've had regime change, the MSM is finally starting to report on this. I'm seeing more and more stories about it, and even Katie Couric's getting in on the action.