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REI suspends orders of Vista Outdoor brands, encourages Vista ’to lead’

Published March 1, 2018

SEATTLE (BRAIN) — REI, like its Canadian co-op cohort MEC has decided to suspend orders of Vista Outdoor products because of the company's connection to the firearms industry. REI sells Vista's Giro, Bell, CamelBak, Camp Chef and Blackburn brands.

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Two separate petitions asking REI to stop carrying Vista's brands had drawn thousands of signatures in a week. 

"REI does not sell guns. We believe that it is the job of companies that manufacture and sell guns and ammunition to work towards common sense solutions that prevent the type of violence that happened in Florida last month. In the last few days, we've seen such action from companies like Dick's Sporting Goods and Walmart and we applaud their leadership," the company said in a statement Thursday.

Dick's has said it will stop selling assault-style weapons like the one used in the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting. Dick's also no longer sells high-capacity magazines or guns to anyone younger than 21. Walmart said Wednesday it will not sell any gun to anyone under 21. It also said it would no longer sell items resembling assault-style rifles, including toys and air guns. Walmart ended sales of assault-style rifles in 2015, citing lagging sales.

Vista, which does about half its business in the shooting sports and ammunition market, has not made a statement about the Florida shootings or the reactions of some retailers. In its statement, REI was critical of the company's silence.

"This morning we learned that Vista does not plan to make a public statement that outlines a clear plan of action. As a result, we have decided to place a hold on future orders of products that Vista sells through REI while we assess how Vista proceeds.

"Companies are showing they can contribute if they are willing to lead. We encourage Vista to do just that," the company concluded. 

Another major retailer of Vista's bike-related brands, Performance Bicycle, said it does not plan to stop sales of those products.

"Performance and Nashbar will continue to support the Vista brands (Bell, Giro, Blackburn and CamelBak),” said Pat Cunnane, the CEO of Advanced Sports Enterprises, the owner of Performance, Nashbar and the ASI brands Fuji, Kestrel, SE Bikes and Breezer.

“Our commitment as a specialty retailer is to provide choice for our customers. We respect our customers  their thoughts and beliefs – and encourage everyone to purchase products from brands that they are comfortable with,” Cunnane said in an email to BRAIN. 

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