REI halts future orders from gun conglomerate

03 March, 2018, 05:01 | Author: Regina Lloyd
  • REI suspends orders of Vista Outdoor brands, encourages Vista 'to lead'

REI announced Thursday evening it would halt orders of products from Vista Outdoors, whose brands include CamelBak (maker of popular water bottles), Bell (known for its bicycle helmets), and Giro (a ski goggle manufacturer).

Canadian retailer Mountain Equipment Co-op said it will cease selling products made by US assault rifle producing store Vista Outdoor Inc.

He says the company will continue to engage with the five brands "in ways that are consistent with our mission and values", and welcomes "opportunities to engage with other organizations".

David Labistour announced Thursday that MEC will stop selling several outdoor equipment brands owned by Vista Outdoor Inc., which is also a gun manufacturer. When MEC changed its brand name to initials from Mountain Equipment Co-op, some people were upset.

Savage Arms in particular makes rapid-fire semi-automatic rifles with high-capacity magazines, which are functionally similar to the weapon used in last month's attack on a school in Florida.

Last week other USA companies, including airlines, insurers and vehicle rental chains, said they were ending promotions with the National Rifle Association lobbying group, revealing a partial shift in United States gun politics amid fervent student-led activism and intense social media campaigns.

Vista also manufactures and sells guns and ammunition, including rifles under brand names such as Savage Arms.

A number of USA companies have changed their gun-sale policies after a gunman armed with a semi-automatic AR-15-style assault rifle killed 17 people at a Florida high school last month.

Canadian merchant Running Room, which bills itself as "North America's largest specialty retailer" of running and walking gear, followed suit shortly thereafter, saying: "Our management teams are now doing a full review of our suppliers and vendors for any other potential conflicts".

CamelBak is based in Petaluma, Calif., apart from its Utah parent, and sought on Thursday to distance itself from Vista Outdoor.

Vista did not return an email seeking comment. A major concern for the boycott centers around the incorrect assumption that the purchase of any of our products may support a cause that does not fit the mission/values of our brand.

Some people aired their concerns on the company's Twitter and Facebook pages, asking it to stop selling Vista-owned brands. "We encourage Vista to do just that".

Its founder John Stanton said in a telephone interview that Running Room began selling CamelBak products more than a decade ago, before it was acquired by Vista Outdoor. Canadian Tire owns Sport Chek. The retailer will sell through their existing stock, but will not place any new orders.

Vista Outdoor's business is divided into two branches: One side is dedicated to outdoor products; the other branch is dedicated to "shooting sports", which generates 54 percent of the company's external sales revenue, according to its annual report. Or would it help Canadian consumers to feel a part of the wider backlash against companies that support the NRA?

"We believe that the commonality is around gun control and the lack of sensible gun control", said Labistour of the feedback.


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