Walmart Stops Carrying Some Rifles

130221034718-walmart-guns-sales-620xaWalmart will stop some selling high-powered rifles, and the company says the decision is based on sales, not politics. Although speculation links the news to Wednesday's on-air shooting of two television reporters, Walmart's announcement came first.

Spokesman Cory Lundberg said, "It [the decision] was done purely based on customer demand." He also told Forbes, "We previously carried modern sporting rifles in less than a third of our stores. Our merchandising decisions are driven largely by customer demand. In our everyday course of doing business, we are continually reviewing and adjusting our product assortment to meet our customers' needs."

At the same time, news reports question Walmart's motivation. According to a New York Times article, sales of assault rifles have not fallen (although the sales process may be slowed by background checks). Further, after the terrible church shooting in Charleston, S.C., chief executive Doug McMillon "indicated in an interview with CNN that he wanted to curb sales of such weapons."

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Discussion Starters:

  • Why is Walmart focusing on sales rather than political motivations for discontinuing these guns? Consider Walmart's constituencies when you answer this question.
  • Walmart has not posted a news release on its website to describe the decision. Why do you think the company might avoid this?