by Brian Lipton

Columbia SportswearOregon-based outerwear brand Columbia Sportswear Company today announced record fourth quarter net sales of $717.4 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2016, a three percent increase compared with net sales of $699.4 million for the fourth quarter of 2015. Growth was driven primarily by the Columbia Brand, as well as strong sales in the EMEA region.

Fourth quarter 2016 net income increased 34 percent to a fourth quarter record $84.7 million, or $1.20 per diluted share, compared with fourth quarter 2015 net income of $63.4 million, or $0.90 per diluted share.

For fiscal year 2016 net sales increased 2 percent to a record $2.38 billion, while net income increased 10 percent to a record $191.9 million, or $2.72 per diluted share, compared with full year 2015 net income of $174.3 million, or $2.45 per diluted share.

“We are very proud of our fourth quarter and full year 2016 performance against a challenging backdrop in many of our largest markets,” said CEO Tim Boyle. “We are particularly encouraged by the strong results we achieved in our Europe-direct markets, completing a second consecutive year of mid-20 percent constant-currency sales growth and returning that business to profitability after several challenging years. We also grew in the U.S., despite significant headwinds from customer bankruptcies, changing consumer shopping behavior, unseasonably warm weather, and cautious wholesale customers.”

The company currently expects 2017 net sales growth of approximately 4 percent compared with 2016 net sales of $2.38 billion, including approximately 1 percentage point negative effect from changes in foreign currency exchange rates. Growth is expected to come from second-half and direct-to-consumer sales.

Despite the strong numbers, Boyle is not completely satisfied. “As part of our focus on relentless improvement, the senior management team and I are engaging a leading consulting firm to assist us in performing a thorough assessment of our operating model,” he said. “Our goal is to ensure that our business is aligned and organized to successfully execute our strategic plan. We remain confident in our ability to continue to drive sustainable profitable growth through our powerful brand portfolio.”

In addition to Columbia, the company’s brands include Sorel, Prana, and Mountain Hardwear.