Outdoor financials: Columbia 3Q sales slide 4 percent; Amer Sports up 1 percent

Muted third-quarter results a trend as brands delay their fall/winter pre-orders into the fourth quarter.

Columbia Sportswear (Nasdaq: COLM), parent to its namesake brand along with Mountain Hardwear, Sorel and Montrail, reported lower sales for the third quarter 2013, but remained profitable on reduced inventories and higher direct-to-consumer sales.

Third quarter sales fell 4 percent to $523.1 million, yet still produced a net income of $54.6 million, albeit less of a gain of $64.4 million a year ago.

CEO Tim Boyle told investors on a conference call that retailers remained cautious heading into the fall/winter season, but consumers shopping at the company’s branded stores and online are showing healthier signs. A 14 percent decline in inventory also helped tighten costs and keep results profitable.

By brand, sales at Columbia fell 1 percent to $431.5 million, Sorel brand net sales declined 23 percent to $47.4 million, and Mountain Hardwear net sales declined 9 percent to $40.6 million. By category, footwear led the drop, falling 18 percent versus virtually unchanged results in apparel, accessories and equipment.

Despite the third-quarter drop, plus up to a 2 percent drop in sales forecasted for the fourth quarter, Columbia officials revised their full-year 2013 projections higher — now predicting just a 1.5 percent decline versus the previous 2 percent call.

See Columbia’s full third quarter 2013 results here.

Amer Sports sees business shift to 4Q

Similar to what we told you a few days ago, with outdoor brands like The North Face delaying their fall/winter pre-orders into the fourth quarter, Amer Sports reported muted results for the third quarter 2013 due to the shift.

The parent company of Salomon, Arc’teryx, Atomic and Suunto reported quarterly sales were up just 1 percent to EUR 608.9 million ($841.5 million) in the quarter versus a year ago, while net profit slipped slightly to EUR 54.8 million ($75.7 million) versus EUR 56 million ($77.4 million).

Amer’s Winter and Outdoor group faired slightly better than the overall results with the category’s sales up 2.3 percent to EUR 420.6 ($581.3 million), boosted by a 11 percent gain in apparel, 8 percent rise in footwear, offsetting a 7 percent drop in wintersports equipment.

Amer's Ball Sports (Wilson) and Fitness (Precor) brands reported a 4.3 percent decline and a 3.7 percent increase, respectively, in the third quarter.

--David Clucas



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