Columbia Sportswear Company (Nasdaq: COLM), a global leader in the active outdoor apparel and footwear industries, today announced record first quarter net sales of $168.9 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2003, an increase of 17.9 percent over net sales of $143.3 million for the same period of 2002. The Company reported net income for the first quarter of $14.9 million, a 65.6 percent increase over net income of $9.0 million for the same period of 2002. Earnings per share for the first quarter of 2003 were $0.37 (diluted) on 40.4 million weighted average shares, compared to earnings per share of $0.22 (diluted) for the first quarter of 2002 on 40.0 million weighted average shares. The Company completed its acquisition of Mountain Hardwear, Inc. on March 31, 2003. First quarter results do not include income or expense of Mountain Hardwear operations.
Compared to the first quarter of 2002, U.S. sales increased by 9.8 percent to $99.6 million, Canadian sales increased by 39.2 percent to $18.1 million, European sales increased by 27.8 percent to $32.2 million and Other International sales increased 31.9 percent to reach $19.0 million for the first quarter of 2003.
When measured in constant dollar terms, Canadian sales grew by 32.1 percent, European sales increased by 3.4 percent, and Other International sales increased 23.2 percent for the first quarter of 2003. Consolidated net sales for the first quarter of 2003 increased 12.0 percent to $160.5 million in constant dollars, when compared to the first quarter of 2002.
When compared to the first quarter of 2002, outerwear sales decreased 1.9 percent to $36.0 million, while sportswear sales increased 20.9 percent to $97.8 million and footwear sales increased by 47.0 percent to $29.7 million. Accessories sales were flat year over year at $5.4 million.
Tim Boyle, Columbia's president and chief executive officer, commented, ''The strength of our brands and business globally contributed to exceptional first quarter results. Based on previously announced spring season bookings, worldwide sales continued to expand during the period, led by strong growth in our sportswear and footwear product lines. The acceleration of our spring business globally is in part the result of previously discussed management restructurings in sportswear and footwear, coupled with innovative product development. Our ability to efficiently source and distribute our products, combined with strong demand, contributed to expanding gross margins, operating leverage and record first quarter earnings.''
Net income expanded 65.6 percent to a first quarter record $14.9 million. Net income growth was primarily the result of (1) increased sales volumes in spring sportswear and footwear in all key geographic markets, (2) a 270 basis point improvement in gross margin to 45.4 percent compared to 42.7 percent for the first quarter of 2002, and (3) continued improvement in operating leverage which resulted in a decrease in sales, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses to 31.4 percent of sales compared to 32.3 percent of sales for the first quarter of 2002. The increase in gross margin was primarily the result of continued sourcing improvements for spring products and lower volume sales of fall closeout products at higher margins. The leverage gained through SG&A was primarily the result of continued cost control measures with focus on personnel, capital and other discretionary spending.