Exactly one week ago, on October 6th, Federal Premium laid off 200 more employees. Employees were notified of this through group meetings that were held on Thursday, October 5th and Friday, October 6th. The layoffs affect 190 hourly workers from the factory floor and 10 jobs from Federal Premium’s human resources, IT and legal departments who were on salary. All the affected employees were offered severance packages and outplacement assistance.
The timing of the layoffs is curious because fall is a period when ammunition manufacturers tend to pick up a bit with hunting seasons. Summer is typically the slowest time of year for retailers who sell ammunition. This is also coming off the heels of Vista Outdoor appointing a new CEO: Christopher Metz. Vista Outdoor is the parent company to Federal Premium and Christopher Metz took the helm of Vista on October 9th just a few days after the layoffs.
With these layoffs, combined with the staff reductions that occurred in March and June already, Federal Premium’s workforce has dropped from 1,430 to 1,020 in just the last 8 months. They actually had to turn down state funding earlier this year because their predicted employment goals were not going to be met.
The Star Tribune, a local St. Paul/Minneapolis newspaper in MN, quoted Vista Outdoor spokeswoman Amanda Covington as saying:
Vista Outdoor continues its efforts to drive cost-savings initiatives and improved efficiencies. We are managing our employee population to align with demand.
Those are obviously reasonable and desirable goals for any company, but it is strikingly eeire that the firearm industry; moreover, the ammunition category is that slow.
Vista Outdoor continued…
Our primary strategic focus this fiscal year is to deliver improved performance within our current brands and generate strong cash flows through cost management, efficiency improvements and operational excellence.
We are committed to our core goals of providing innovative and high-quality products for our customers and generating shareholder value.
Once again, those are great boardroom benchmarks, but it would be more positive and encouraging to see less people getting laid off. Not just at Federal Premium, but in all aspects and categories of the firearms industry.