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Not just guns…

swstg-u_thumb.jpgMagic, the annual “fashion” circus in Las Vegas that is to your local mall what the Paris runway shows are to Madison Ave., is still a month away. But you have to wonder if Smith & Wesson (SMHC) — or at least one of their licensees — is busy preparing for the show. That’s because in the 10-K filed late yesterday, Smith & Wesson devotes a fair amount of space to its licensing agreements, which include this fetching line of t-shirts. (My personal favorite is the one that says “Stick to Your Guns — something we here at footnoted do way too often!). Smith & Wesson’s own site also has space devoted to “exciting new products” and they’re not talking about guns. Instead, there’s everything from $2,175 wood-pellet smokers to $29.95 mud flaps.

In the K, the company notes that it signed 11 new licensing agreements in the past year, bringing the total to 29. The last time the company was so active in the licensing business was back in 2004, when Smith & Wesson had 30 licensees — a number which dropped to 19 in 2005, so clearly some weren’t all that successful. Last year, the company canceled five agreements, even as it added the 11 new ones. Licensing revenue has also been pretty modest — just $1.7 million or less than 1% of total revenue in the fiscal year that ended April 30. But given some of the bigger ticket items that the company seems to be going after — the current K oddly lists “homeland security equipment” as a potential licensing market (Smith & Wesson airport scanners, perhaps?).

The stock has already experienced a nice jump this year. The question is will the licensing business help grow the revenues or will it prove to be the diversion it was several years ago?