Sorel Propels Columbia Sportswear to Earnings and Sales Beat

Sorel continues to boost sales for parent Columbia Sportswear Co.

The cold-weather footwear brand helped propel the company to a better-than-anticipated fourth quarter: For the period ended Dec. 31, Columbia noted a sales gain of 4% to $954.9 million, above analysts’ forecasts of $952.1 million in revenues. Earnings per share totaled $1.67, compared with Wall Street’s bets of $1.65, on profits of $114 million.

In its financial report, the Portland, Ore.-based retailer noted that it once again saw strength at Sorel, which improved 13% to $143.5 million — driven by performances in the wholesale business and direct-to-consumer channels in the United States. (The brand has continued to find success in its expansion beyond cold-weather styles.) Separately, the firm’s namesake outerwear label, Columbia, saw a 3% increase in revenues to $751.1 million.

“In the fourth quarter, a challenging retail environment, particularly in outerwear, impacted sell-through performance and led to higher levels of promotional activity,” explained chairman, president and CEO Tim Boyle. “In this environment, we delivered results generally in line with our guidance, including continued exceptional growth for the Sorel brand.”

Columbia also reported that sales surpassed the $3 billion mark for the first time in the company’s history. Looking ahead to the new fiscal year, management unveiled new strategic priorities in four areas: driving brand awareness and sales growth; enhancing the customer experience as well as its digital capabilities; expanding and improving global direct-to-consumer operations; and optimizing the organization across its portfolio of brands.

“We are making these investments to build on our strengths as a brand-led, consumer-focused organization and to enable sustainable long-term profitable growth,” Boyle added.

For 2020, Columbia expects sales to grow 4.5% to 6%, hitting $3.18 billion to $3.23 billion. Diluted earnings per share are predicted in the range of $4.75 to $4.90.

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