Outdoor: Did you hear?...

Rock and Ice replacing bolts, Jan Lorch of Vaude, Outside magazine Gear of the Year awards, Columbia record 1st Q sales, Nike ACG sponsors Balance Bar Adventure Race Series, Kosmatka promoted at Woolrich, Johnson Outdoors financials, FabricLink launches Technical Center, Deckers posts strong 1st Q sales, Backpacker Pantry offers military discounts ...
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>> Rock and Ice magazine is partnering with the American Safe Climbing Association (ASCF) to replace aging desert bolts on the Canyonlands' Primrose Dihedrals route. Working with the cooperation of the National Park Service, Rock and Ice will pull all of the multi-pitch climb's original bolts, re-drill the existing holes and re-equip the climb with modern safe anchors.

>> Jan Lorch, formerly export manager for Vaude, has been tapped to fill the newly created position of international sales manager for the German company. He will be responsible for the entire sales and distribution department. Lorch will directly coordinate all sales and distribution for national and foreign markets, as well as take over the responsibility of controlling sales worldwide. Others moving up in growing international sales include Karl Menger, long-time German sales operations manager who will focus more on partnership concepts with retail operations and taking care of major customers in Germany. Patrick Broghammer will be the new export manager and will concentrate on taking care of sales partners around the world and further expanding the international sales and distribution network. Already, 40 percent of Vaude's sales are outside of Germany and the company is expecting more international growth.

>> Outside magazine's much-anticipated 2003 Buyer's Guide has just hit the stands and with it comes the accolades from its annual Gear of the Year awards. Outside editors and contributing editors have awarded 16 products for Gear of the Year recognition. Each product was singled out by the individual reviewer testing that category and receives an award for the product's "seamless merging of design, functionality and performance." And the winners are: Kaenon Polarized Kore sunglasses; Suunto X6HR wrist computer; Brunton Epoch 10.5x43 binoculars; Olympus Stylus 300 digital camera; Osprey Aether 75 backpack; The North Face Trek Light Leather GTX hiking boots; REI Roadster tent; Marmot Fusion 15 sleeping bag; Optimus Crux stove; Helly Hansen Storm storm shell (we thank Outside for using this terminology instead of the ridiculous hard shell title); Patagonia Core Skin soft shell; Vasque Velocity trail running shoe; Specialized S-Works FSR mountain bike; Riot Air whitewater kayak; Saris Cycle-On sport rack; and the Victorinox E-Motion 360 26-inch Trek Pack Plus luggage.

>> Columbia Sportswear continues to impress as the company announced record first quarter net sales of $168.9 million, a 17.9 percent increase over the prior year. Net income climbed a whopping 65.6 percent to $14.9 million for the same period. Since Columbia just completed the company's acquisition of Mountain Hardwear, numbers do not include income or expense from that company. U.S. sales increased by 9.8 percent to $99.6 million. Canadian sales increased 39.2 percent to $18.1 million. European sales increased 27.8 percent to $32.2 million. What Columbia classified as "Other International" sales (which include Japan) increased 31.9 percent to $19 million. The company is projecting 18 percent to 20 percent revenue growth for the second quarter. The company also expects Mountain Hardwear sales to contribute $30 million to the company's revenue in 2003.

>> Nike All Conditions Gear (ACG) has committed to a two-year partner sponsorship of the Balance Bar Adventure Race Series. In addition to promoting the series through advertising, retail and the Internet, Nike ACG will outfit camp, clinic and race staff in footwear and apparel through 2004. The 2003 race series consists of eight sprint format races and three 24-hour races. Events will be held in and around New York City, Salt Lake City, Atlanta, Denver, Portland, Sacramento, Hartford, Richmond and Los Angeles. Over 9,000 race participants are expected to compete.

>> Todd Yates, vice president of sales and marketing at Woolrich, Inc., has promotedPaula Kosmatka to director of merchandising and design. Kosmatka joined Woolrich in February 2000 as the men's and women's outerwear designer, and in short order was named to the position of design director. Kosmatka is now responsible for men's and women's sportswear, outerwear and sweaters; Woolrich Sporting Group, Discovery Channel Quest licensed apparel and special makes; as well as Woolrich Home and Outdoor Living.

>> Johnson Outdoors' second quarter report revealed sales increases of 2 percent, from $81.7 million last year to $83.3 million this year. Military sales growth helped save the numbers for the Outdoor Equipment segment -- Eureka, Camptrails, Silva -- with military tent sales being singled out as a prime reason that sales numbers climbed 12 percent to $18.8 million from $16.8 million the year before. The watercraft division, which includes Necky, Ocean Kayak and Old Town, continues to struggle because of what the company terms "operational inefficiencies" with sales dipping 10 percent to $19.9 million and an operating loss of $1.1 million, compared to $80,000 profit recorded last year. Motors and diving round out the rest of the company's business segments.

>> FabricLink has launched a new website targeted at the outdoor industry -- The Technical Center (www.TheTechnicalCenter.com). The site's purpose is to promote new product developments, and new end-uses for existing products. Input for the site's development was provided by David Parkes, president of Concept III International, and Don Cartwright, vice president of product development for Wellman, who also serves on the website's advisory board. The Technical Center utilizes the same short educational and promotional features as well as extensive inter-linking that is used on the FabricLink website, www.FabricLink.com.

>> Deckers posted a first quarter sales increase of 9 percent, up from $33.3 million last year to $36.1 million this year. Teva sales increased 8 percent to $31.7 million compared to $29.3 million. Ugg sales increased 297 percent from $400,000 last year to $1.1 million this year. Simple pulled overall numbers down with a sales decrease of 22 percent to $2.8 million compared to $3.6 million the year prior. Simple remains a "work in progress" for the company. Gross margins for the company also decreased from 45.4 percent to 45 percent. Deckers is projecting that Teva's 2003 sales will be between $68 million and $70 million. Simple is projected to ring up $12 million and Ugg $24 million to $25 million.

>> Backpacker's Pantry is extending its professional purchase discount program to all active military personnel. The company cites a recent increase in requests from troops and their families from various military branches and an interest in showing support for armed forces as the impetus for the program. The discount program will include all menu items from the Backpacker's Pantry and Campfood product lines.

>> Brad Souva has been named West Coast account manager for Outside magazine, handling the travel and outdoor industry accounts. He will work out of the Los Angeles sales office and report to Jeff Griffith, the Southern California manager. Souva was most recently the western sales representative for Bicycling and Mountain Bike.

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