Guns and dog food: Walmart sells a lot

Vice President Joe Biden included Walmart in his invites to an industry meeting on gun safety. Why? Walmart is one of the biggest seller of guns in the U.S. Just like it's the biggest seller of men's underwear, dog food and many other things.

Vice President Joe Biden holds another meeting of his gun-violence working group today. He’ll hear from gun owners’ groups and industry – including Walmart.

A lot of firearms are sold at gun shows. According to Rommel Dionisio, an analyst with Wedbush Securities, specialty stores still do a pretty-good business.

“But certainly within the traditional retail channels, you know, Walmart is certainly the largest,” he says, noting the company’s marketing strategy for firearms is the same as it is for everything else it sells:

“The larger retailers simply offer a greater selection.”

In this case, of ammunition and what are called long guns – rifles and shotguns. All of which are available at very competitive prices, Dionisio says.

So, how important are guns to Walmart’s bottom line?

“Well, they’re not that important at all,” says Maggie Gilliam, who runs a research and advisory firm that specializes in retail. “Walmart is three times larger than any other retailer in the world, and so they’re the largest retailer of a lot of things.”

Gilliam lists a few of them: Groceries, men’s underwear, and dog food.

About the author

David Gura is a reporter for Marketplace, based in the Washington, D.C. bureau.

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