Here Come Gun-Focused Retail Super Centers

Brad Tuttle

Picture a sprawling 30,000-square-foot Best Buy store—only instead of electronic gadgets and games, every aisle inside the big-box center is devoted to firearms, bullets, and “tactical gear.” This is the hot retail concept spreading throughout the Midwest. Minnesota-based outdoors retailer Gander Mountain is expanding a new concept it first introduced in Wisconsin in 2011: the big-box store devoted almost exclusively to guns and ammo. Three such stores are set to open this month, in Ohio, Michigan, and Minnesota. Don’t come looking for camping gear, mountain bikes, rugged footwear, or other outdoor store standards at these locations. Gander Mountain describes the firearms super center model as “a new concept which will provide a specialty retail outlet focused specifically on fulfilling the needs of firearms enthusiasts, featuring thousands of new and used firearms of all kinds, and the industry’s best selection of firearms accessories, specialty apparel, ammunition and security.” For Gander Mountain, the model helps it compete better with ultra-big-box retailers like Cabela’s, which is known to operate stores with upwards of 88,000 square feet of space mostly devoted to hunting supplies. The increase in gun sales is the main reason that gun super centers have great growth potential. “Taking a whole store and devoting it to guns is fairly radical but, from a business standpoint, it makes sense,” retail analyst Chris Boring, principal at Boulevard Strategies, told the Columbus Dispatch. “Cabela’s is well known for its hunting and fishing equipment. So it’s a response to that — and it’s also a response to the overwhelming demand for more guns everywhere. I think it’s wise for them to take advantage of unique market conditions.” (MORE: Oof! Airline Fees Rise Yet Again: At Least $200 to Change a Flight) The first Gander Mountain Firearms Super Center in Ohio opened in February in Reynoldsburg, a suburb just east of Columbus. In a phone interview, Boring said that Gander Mountain’s gun-focused retail centers will attract some sales away from gun shows and smaller gun stores, but the real competition is Cabela’s, with its huge “destination”

via Business Feeds

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