Vista Outdoor plans to sell Bell, Giro and Blackburn, and potentially its gun brands Savage and Stevens. This reorganization comes two months after many cycling and outdoor retailers, including REI and Mountain Equipment Co-Op, announced they were boycotting Vista-owned brands in the wake of a shooting at a US high school.
Vista CEO Christ Metz said plans for the potential sales were underway before the boycott, which centered around the sales of assault rifles like the semi-automatic AR-15 rifle and Vista's lack of response to a Florida school shooting. Instead, Metz cited poor earnings and a decrease in retail space as the primary reasons for restructuring around its core brands like ammunition.
In a conference call with investors May 1, Metz said the company was already planning on divesting itself of these brands “way before any of the noise came about eight weeks ago.”
Notably absent from the outdoor brands Vista plans to sell is CamelBak, which, in addition to its line of cycling and outdoor products, holds a number of contracts with the US military.
Vista owns more than 50 companies, including eight ammunition brands.
Vista bought Bell, Giro and Blackburn in 2016 from BRG sports.
Vista’s restructuring comes on the heels of a fourth-quarter earnings report that saw the holding company’s quarterly profits fall by $571 million dollars, a one-percent decrease from the prior-year quarter.
Vista also reported a nine percent slump in sales year-on-year, which the company attributes to decreased interest in shooting sports and a loss of retail space and lower demand across outdoor sports, hydration and water sports.
According to Metz, Vista expects to wrap up the sale of Bell, Giro, Blackburn and many of its other outdoor brands by the end of the 2020 fiscal year.