Columbia Sportswear reports record fourth quarter sales

Columbia Sportswear has reported record fourth quarter net sales of US$776 million for the three months to December.

The figure represents an 8 per cent increase on the same period a year earlier. Fourth quarter operating income was $109.4 million, but the company recorded a $7.1 million net loss for the period, largely due to restructuring costs under its Project Connect program.

Full year net sales increased 4 per cent, to a record $2.47 billion, while full year net income fell from $191.9 million to $105.1 million, again due to restructuring costs and one-off items.

President and CEO Tim Boyle described the sales figures as “better than expected” citing continued growth in Europe and North America, along with improved sales by distributor partners globally.

“We are particularly encouraged by the strong results we achieved in Europe-direct in 2017, completing a third consecutive year of double-digit constant-currency net sales growth and continued improvement in operating margin. A relentless focus also drove 2017 net sales growth in the US, with expansion of direct-to-consumer offsetting challenges in wholesale resulting from the effect of bankruptcies, liquidations and stores closures.”

Boyle said the company anticipates further sales and earnings growth this year, and a continuation of the company’s strategic repositioning.

“With record cash and short-term investment balances of $768.1 million exiting 2017, and no long-term debt, we have the flexibility to adapt our business as our major markets continue to evolve. It is from this position of strength that we are investing in our strategic priorities to drive brand awareness and sales growth through increased, focused demand creation investments, enhance consumer experience and digital capabilities in all our channels and geographies, expand and improve global DTC operations with supporting processes and systems; and invest in our people and optimise our organisation across our portfolio of brands.”

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