What happened

Shares of firearm and outdoor products-maker Vista Outdoor (NYSE:VSTO) are up 7% today as of 3:10 p.m. EST, after the company reported its fiscal year 2021 second-quarter results. 

Overall sales jumped 29%, with strong increases in both the shooting sports and outdoor-products categories.

So what

For the quarter ended Sept. 27, 2020, Vista said sales in shooting sports rose 26% compared to the prior-year period, and jumped 35% in its outdoor-products category. This led to free cash flow of $190 million, compared with a negative use of cash of $23 million in the year-ago quarter.

Hand gun and ammo on top of $100 bills representing gun sales.

Image source: Getty Images.

Vista's brands include Bushnell, CamelBak, and Remington, which the company acquired last month. Vista continued the sales-growth momentum it experienced in its previous quarter ended June 28, which was helped by a 40% increase in its e-commerce business. 

Now what

This quarter, e-commerce sales more than doubled, the company said. Chief Financial Officer Sudhanshu Priyadarshi at Vista Outdoor described how online sales helped improve margin and cash flow. "Our focus on e-commerce was well timed and well executed ... e-commerce at 22% of year-to-date sales contributed to the healthy upswing," he said in a statement. 

The company is using some of the cash influx to pay down debt for the second consecutive quarterly period. Priyadarshi said this will allow it to focus on growing the business by deploying capital toward fueling future growth, as with the Remington acquisition. 

Trends accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic include outdoor recreation and firearms sales, both of which position Vista Outdoors to continue to benefit.

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