In the latest in a series of major shooting sports industry layoffs, ATK Sporting Group confirmed it was reducing its Savage manufacturing operation, cutting 120 jobs from two facilities.
According to ATK spokesman Tim Brandt, ATK Sporting Group — which purchased Savage in 2013 — is laying off about 95 workers from Savage’s Westfield, Massachusetts, plant and 25 from its Lakefield, Ontario, facility. The most recent layoffs follow similar ones in April where the company cut nearly 40 workers.
“Calendar year 2014 represented the industry’s single largest growth year in history, largely driven by consumer surge buying,” said ATK Sporting Group president Jay Tibbets. “We responded to that demand by increasing production capacity and expanding our workforce. Unfortunately, we must now right size our operations to remain efficient and competitive as consumer demand retracts and the market normalizes.”
News of ATK’s layoffs follow recent reductions from Remington, Sig Sauer and Century Arms citing industry woes that show declining sales after a 2013 buying boom. While gun sales are still up historically, background checks for gun purchases are down 21 percent from last year, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and manufacturers are feeling the hit.
Sig Sauer recently announced it was laying off 100 workers because of softening sales and Remington is relocating some of its former Freedom Group companies to Huntsville, Alabama, reducing its workforce in the process.
“People in our business know it is hugely difficult to match a historic, unprecedented surge in customers buying all types of firearms,” said NSSF president Steve Sanetti. Manufacturers “were realistic in expecting and planning for a normalization.”