According to an Oct. 4 article in the Portland Business Journal, Columbia is performing extremely well in Europe, and that is helping the company to weather a difficult domestic retail climate.
While U.S. sales experienced a 1.3 percent decline in the company's second-quarter domestic sales ($86.9 million), its European sales rose 9.6 percent to $14.8 million. Other international sales increased 25.4 percent to $15.3 million. Columbia categorizes Europe primarily as the European Union members with the exception of Greece. "Others" refer to Japan and Korea as well as Australia, New Zealand, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, Norway, Switzerland, Greece, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Russia, Hong Kong, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, and Panama. These 18 countries sell to an additional 20 markets.
The company reported that as of March 31, 2002, consolidated backlog was $584.4 million, 2.7 percent more than on the year-earlier date. Of that total, the backlog for fall product was $517.8 million, 3.9 greater than the year-earlier date. More telling, the company's international sales grew 29.6 percent to $228.3 million in 2001, up from $176.1 million in 2000. Overall, the company garnered $780 million in revenue for 2001 with an 18.9 percent operating margin.
According to the report, Columbia's top competitors in Europe include Germany's Schoeffel and Jack Wolfskin, and France's LaFuma and Aigle. Of course, the Business Journal story also said that none of those companies do business outside of their respective home countries. That would be, errr, incorrect.