Strong Q4 footwear sales round off record year at Columbia Sportswear
Portland, Oregon-based outdoor and activewear group Columbia Sportswear Company saw its net sales surpass $3 billion for the first time in fiscal 2019, as footwear – particularly the Sorel brand – led growth in the fourth quarter of a record year.
The company’s annual net sales totaled $3.04 billion up 9% (10% in constant currencies) from $2.80 billion in the previous year.
Full-year net income was $330.5 million, or $4.83 per diluted share, up a solid 23% from $268.3 million, or $3.81 per diluted share.
In the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2019, Columbia’s net sales increased 4% to $954.9 million, compared to $917.6 million in the prior-year period.
Progress was led by the footwear category, where sales rose 12% to $256.6 million, while revenues from apparel, accessories and equipment increased 1% to $698.3 million.
The company’s Sorel footwear brand in particular continued to perform well, achieving sales of $143.5 million, up 13% from the prior-year period. The group’s namesake Columbia brand posted a 3%¨increase in its net sales, which totaled $751.1 million while Mountain Hardwear revenues were $27.2 million, up 4%.
The prAna brand fared less well, posting a 10% decrease in total sales of $33.1 million.
Broken down by geography, the company’s results were a mixed bag, with growth of 8% in the U.S. and 7% in the EMEA region leading to sales of $634.0 million and $99.8 million, respectively. Canada, on the other hand, saw its sales decrease 10% to $49.5 million, while the LAAP region posted sales of $171.6 million, reflecting a 4% decline.
Quarterly net income saw a slight increase of 1%, totaling $114.0 million, or $1.67 per diluted share, compared to $113.3 million, or $1.63 per diluted share, in the same period in the previous year.
The last quarter of 2019 was also a period of change for Columbia Sportswear, following the death of its iconic chairwoman Gert Boyle, aka “One Tough Mother,” in November 2019.
Her son, Tim Boyle, who has served as Columbia CEO since 1988, has since been appointed as the company’s new chairman, while longtime board member Andy Bryany was named as lead independent director.
In a press release published on Thursday, Boyle said that his mother’s “image and likeness will remain an integral part of our branding,” moving forward. He also outlined a number of targets for fiscal 2020, namely driving brand awareness and sales growth, enhancing customer experience and digital capabilities, improving global direct-to-consumer operations, and investing in talent while optimizing the company’s organization.
In terms of Columbia’s financial outlook for fiscal 2020, the company currently expects to see annual net sales of between $3.18 billion and $3.23 billion, reflecting growth of between 4.5% and 6.0%. Net income is expected to be in the range of $325 million to $335 million, while diluted earnings per share are predicted to be between $4.75 and $4.90.
The company did, however, point out that this guidance does not take into account the potential impact of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in China, the effects of which Columbia expects to be “broad-reaching including impacts to our DTC and wholesale businesses.”
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