Columbia Sportswear Company (Nasdaq: COLM) today announced record net sales of $331.5 million for its third quarter ended September 30, 2002, an increase of 8.5% over the $305.6 million of net sales for the same period of last year. Net income for the period increased 14.7% to $56.9 million, or $1.42 per share (diluted) on 40.2 million weighted average shares outstanding for the third quarter, compared to net income of $49.6 million, or $1.24 per share (diluted) on 40.1 million weighted average shares outstanding for the same period of last year. Net sales for the period came in approximately $4 million ahead of the Company's previous expectations due primarily to customer requests for early shipments.
The increase in net sales for the quarter is primarily attributable to continued strength in the Company's key geographic markets, particularly in the outerwear and sportswear categories globally. Specifically, compared to the third quarter of 2001, the Company's Domestic sales grew by 4.5% to $234.2 million, Canadian sales increased by 15.9% to $41.5 million, European sales increased by 25.1% to $32.9 million and Other International sales (excluding European direct sales) increased 18.0% to $22.9 million. On a constant dollar basis, Canadian sales increased 17.5%, European sales increased 13.9%, and Other International sales (excluding European direct sales) increased 16.0% for the period.
Categorically, when compared to the third quarter of 2001, outerwear sales increased 10.2% to $214.0 million, sportswear sales increased 7.7% to $62.9 million, while footwear sales for the period were flat at $37.9 million. Within the footwear category, Columbia branded footwear shipments during the quarter declined by 10.4% to $26.8 million, and Sorel branded footwear sales increased 38.6% to $11.1 million for the period.
Net income growth for the third quarter of 2002 was due primarily to growth in net sales, coupled with gross margin expansion of 50 basis points to 48.5% when compared to the prior year period. Gross margin expansion during the period was primarily the result of continued strong demand for the Company's outerwear products globally, and a favorable sourcing environment generally. A reduction in the effective tax rate for the period to 37.5% also contributed to net income growth for the period.
The Company reported that consolidated backlog for future deliveries at September 30, 2002 was $422.2 million, which represents an increase of 5.9% when compared to backlog for future deliveries at September 30, 2001 of $398.5 million. As a component of consolidated backlog, the Company's spring order backlog was $230.8 million at September 30, 2002 compared to $200.3 million at September 30, 2001, an increase of 15.2%.
Tim Boyle, Columbia's president and chief executive officer, commented, �We are thrilled with the Company's performance during the third quarter, particularly in light of the difficult retail environment that persists in several of our key markets. More importantly however, is the resurgence of our spring business globally as evidenced by the strong order book we have reported today. As we discussed last year at this time, we have taken several steps to improve our spring business. Specifically, through a combination of management restructuring, innovative product development, and sharper merchandising strategies, we have been successful at this point in driving order growth in our key spring businesses of sportswear and footwear globally.�
The Company's senior management will host a telephone conference call at 5:00 p.m. EDT today, Thursday, October 24, 2002. The call will include discussions regarding the Company's third quarter 2002 performance in general, a review of the Company's geographic and merchandise category performance, and the Company's future opportunities generally. To participate, please dial 800-358-8449 in the United States (outside the United States, please dial 706-634-7408) five minutes prior to the call. The call will also be webcast live on the investor information section of the Company's website at www.columbia.com. An audio replay, starting two hours after the conclusion of the call, will be available until 6:00 p.m. October 25. To access, please dial 800-642-1687 in the United States (outside the United States, please dial 706-645-9291) and enter reservation # 5915490. The web cast can also be accessed on the investor information section of the Company's website at www.columbia.com until November 7, 2002.
Founded in 1938 in Portland, Ore., Columbia Sportswear Company is a global leader in the design, sourcing, marketing and distribution of active outdoor apparel and footwear. As one of the largest outerwear brands in the world and the leading seller of skiwear in the United States, the Company has developed an international reputation for quality, performance, functionality and value. To learn more about Columbia Sportswear and the Sorel brand, please visit the Company's Web site at www.columbia.com or visit www.sorelonline.com.