The U.S. headquartered active lifestyle Group said gross margin expanded 110 basis points in the quarter to a record 49.3% of net sales, up from 48.2% in the third quarter of 2018. Operating income increased 18% to a record US$152 million and operating margin expanded 60 basis points to 16.8% of net sales, compared with an operating income of US$129.1 million, or 16.2% of net sales in the third quarter of the previous year. Diluted earnings per share increased 23% to a record US$1.75.
“Record third quarter results exceeded our expectations, with broad based growth across our geographic segments, channels and product categories”, said Tim Boyle, President and CEO, Columbia Sportswear. “Higher advance orders and earlier shipments contributed to 14% growth for the Columbia brand and 27% growth for the Sorel brand in the quarter. Sorel’s impressive growth was led by strong demand for fall fashion styles, further validating the brand’s success as a year-round fashion footwear brand”, he added.
In the first nine months of the year, the Group’s net sales increased 11% (12% constant-currency) to US$2,087.6 million, compared with US$1,884.7 million in the third quarter of 2018. For the full year 2019, management currently expects net sales of US$3.01 billion to US$3.04 billion, compared with the previously forecast US$3 billion to US$3.04 billion), representing net sales growth of 7.5% to 8.5%.