About Columbia Sportswear Company
Columbia Sportswear makes, markets, and distributes upscale outdoor, active and lifestyle apparel, footwear, accessories and equipment products. It operates around the world, but generates around two-thirds of sales in US. 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.
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 and more than 90 other countries worldwide.
In the US, the sportswear maker operates more than 120 outlet stores, about 20ozen branded retail stores, and four brand-specific e-commerce sites. The company generates nearly 65% of its sales in the US and more than 15% 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 nearly 7,800 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.
Company's advertising costs were $166.4 million, $150.4 million and $121.8 million for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively.
Columbia Sportswear negotiated a sticky patch of slow sales growth lasting three years, growing strongly in 2019.
In 2019, sales grew 9% to $3.0 billion thanks to growth in the Columbia, and Sorel brands, partially offset by weakness in prAna and Mountain Hardwear. The main Columbia brand grew across all regions and product categories. By channel, the direct-to-customer (DTC) channel grew 6% and the wholesale channel 11%.
Net income grew nearly 50%to $330.5 million thanks to higher net sales and lower income taxes. Gross profits rose due to a higher proportion of promotional and closeout product net sales and a lower DTC net sales mix, which generally carries a higher gross margin.
Columbia's cash on hand increased $234.2 million during 2019, ending the year at $686.0 million. The company's operations generated $285.5 million, while investing activities provided another $140.7 million and financing activities used $190.7 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.
As part of its commitment to driving sustainable and profitable growth and relentless improvement, Columbia Sportswear remain focused on investment in its strategic priorities, including: driving brand awareness and sales growth through increased, focused demand creation investments; enhancing consumer experience and digital capabilities in all of its channels and geographies; expanding and improving global DTC operations with supporting processes and systems; and investing in its people and optimizing its organization across its portfolio of brands.
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): 8,900
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