Columbia Sportswear late Thursday reported a wider second-quarter loss that was smaller than analysts had predicted.

 

The Portland, Ore.-based firm said its net loss for the three months ended June 30 was $13.6 million, or 40 cents a diluted share, versus a loss of $10.6 million, or 31 cents, a year ago. Wall Street had expected a loss of 48 cents a share.

 

Sales rose 20.8 percent to $268 million from $221.8 million. Outerwear sales rose 43.1 percent to $62.1 million, while sportswear sales increased 11.7 percent to $136.2 million. The company noted that the second quarter generally accounts for about 15 percent of sales, exposing it to “large percentage variances” from year to year.

 

Tim Boyle, president and chief executive officer, said, “Each of our major brands generated growth in the second quarter, keeping us on pace toward our full-year objectives of record sales and improved profitability. As we head into the second half of 2011, we are confident that our product innovations and compelling marketing messages will continue to elevate our brands and drive growth.”

 

By geographic region, its brightest spot for sales was in Latin America and Asia Pacific, where it saw a 47.9 percent gain to $76.6 million, followed by Europe, the Middle East and Africa with a 38.9 percent rise $53.6 million. Canadian sales rose 14.3 percent to $8.8 million. The U.S., its biggest market, increased 4.3 percent to $129 million.

 

The company also reaffirmed its previous expectations for full-year 2011 operating margin to increase by 50 to 70 basis points to go with an expected net sales increase of 14 to 16 percent. For the third quarter, it expects a low-double-digit percentage increase in net sales versus the comparable 2010 third quarter, and operating income of $70 million to $75 million.

 

For the six months, the loss narrowed to $788,000, or 2 cents a diluted share, from $1.4 million, or 4 cents, a year ago. Sales rose 15.1 percent to $601.1 million from $522.2 million.

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