About Columbia Sportswear Company
Columbia Sportswear makes, markets, and distributes upscale outdoor wear such as its trademark Bugaboo parka with weatherproof shell that put the company on the map. In addition to the Bugaboo, Columbia offers performance apparel, sportswear accessories, and rugged footwear for various outdoor activities. Its key brands are Columbia, Mountain Hardwear, Sorel, and prAna. Founded as a hat company in 1938, Columbia Sportswear is fronted by its nonagenarian chairman Gertrude Boyle, who has featured heavily in its "tough mother" advertising campaigns over the years. She holds a 48% share in the company with her son, Tim, who is Columbia's CEO.
Columbia has two main client bases, retail customers and wholesale partners. Columbia's wholesale business accounts for around 60% of sales and consists of sales made to independent specialty outdoor and sporting goods stores, large regional, national, and international chains, and online retailers. Columbia's retail business comprises outlet stores, branded stores, and its e-commerce sites.
Columbia Sportswear's operations are divided between two product categories. The larger category, apparel, accessories, and equipment, generates some 80% of total revenue. Footwear, including Sorel-branded boots, accounts for the rest.
Columbia Sportswear's products are sold in North America and more than 90 other countries worldwide.
In the US, the sportswear maker operates nearly 135 outlet stores, about two-dozen branded retail stores, and four brand-specific e-commerce sites. The company has nearly 120 concession-based, branded, outlet, and shop-in-shop locations in Japan and around 155 additional such stores in Korea, and nearly 85 retail stores in China. It also has about 10 retail stores in Canada, and more than 30 outlet and shop-in-shop retail stores and one branded retail store in the EMEA region.
The company generates more than 60% of its sales in the US and nearly 20% from its second-largest market, LAAP (Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region). Europe, the Middle East, and Africa account for more than 10%, while the remaining +5% comes from Canada.
Sales and Marketing
Columbia's products are primarily sold through 7,200 wholesale distributors to specialty outdoor and sporting goods stores and major retail chains. The company also sells directly to consumers through domestic and international banner retail outlets and stores (Columbia-operated and dealer-operated) as well as online. In countries where it does not trade, the Columbia sells to independent distributors. Almost all of Columbia's items are made in Asia by independent manufacturers.
The company uses a variety of media to market its products, including online advertising and social media sites, TV, and print. It also sponsors events and operates branded and outlet retail stores in high-profile locations.
Columbia Sportswear negotiated a sticky patch of slow sales growth lasting three years, growing strongly in 2018. In that year, sales grew 14% to $2.8 billion thanks to growth in the Columbia, Sorel, and prAna brands, partially offset by weakness in Mountain Hardwear. The main Columbia brand grew across all regions and product categories. By channel, the direct-to-customer (DTC) channel grew 22% and the wholesale channel 8%.
Net income grew 145% to $274.9 million thanks to lower income taxes and a 2.5 percentage point increase in gross profits. Gross profits rose on higher product margins in the DTC business and a higher proportion of DTC sales, which carry higher gross margins.
Columbia's cash on hand fell $221.4 million during 2018, ending the year at $451.8 million. The company's operations generated $289.6 million, while investing activities used $232.2 million and financing activities used $270.0 million. Columbia's main cash uses were capital expenditures, debt repayments, dividends, and share repurchases. It also spent $166.7 million on short-term investments, net of sales and maturities.
Columbia Sportswear's priority is to grow its direct-to-consumer (DTC) business, which offers higher margins than wholesale. The company has been investing in backend technology to springboard its global e-commerce DTC growth by modernizing and standardizing processes to anticipate and meet customer demands. On the front end, Columbia is investing in enhancing its e-commerce systems to adapt to the shift in browsing and buying behavior toward mobile devices. The project should improve search, browsing, checkout, and customer care for mobile customers.
14375 NW SCIENCE PARK DR
Portland, OR 97229-5418
Phone: 1 (503) 985-4000
Employer Type: Publicly Owned
Stock Symbol: COLM
Stock Exchange: , NASDAQ
Chairman: Gertrude Boyle
President, CEO, and Director: Timothy P. Boyle
EVP and COO: Thomas B. Cusick
Employees (This Location): 500
Employees (All Locations): 6,511
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