On Friday, Columbia will begin delivering the first products from its new SH/FT Collection of footwear, which company President and CEO Tim Boyle describes as a collection targeting younger adults “who don’t want to compromise city-inspired style and athletic comfort for outdoor function.”
Early retailer and consumer reaction to the collection, developed by footwear industry veteran Peter Ruppe, who joined COLM as VP of Footwear in Nov. 2018, was said to be good.
The SH/FT Collection launches globally with four styles in both men’s and women’s sizes and colorways in select Columbia locations and at Columbia.com starting August 9. Columbia’s team also collaborated with a handful of premium sneaker boutiques on limited-edition styles at select Atmos, ShoeGallery and UBIQ locations. SH/FT styles will be available at retailers such as Foot Locker, Champs and Dick’s Sporting Goods starting August 16.
Boyle believes the new footwear line, coupled with Columbia’s growing Sorel and PFG footwear businesses, will result in “finally resolving the question whether or not footwear can be the largest product category of the company.”
In FY18, Columbia’s footwear business rose nearly 14 percent in sales volume at $611.3 million to hold steady as 21.8 percent of overall revenues. In Q2 ended June 30, segment revenues, driven by SOREL and Columbia, rose 11 percent on a constant-currency basis to $94.0 million. SOREL’s Q2 net sales rose 31 percent in H1, bolstered by growth in U.S. wholesale and Direct-To-Consumer with strong consumer reception to the brand’s ELLA sandals, JOANIE collection and kinetic sneakers.
Overall, Columbia generated 9 percent revenue growth in Q2 to $526.2 million. Columbia brand sales were 10 percent higher at $454.9 million; Sorel was up 32 percent to $15.1 million; prAna was 2 percent higher at $38.7 million as the brand focuses on product assortment and market position; and Mountain Hardwear experienced year-over-year sales growth for the first time since 2017 with a 9 percent gain to $17.5 million.
U.S. revenues increased 13 percent to $315.5 million as the region’s wholesale net sales rose high-teens with growth across all brands. DTC net revenues expanded high-single digits, driven by brick-and-mortar store performance and low-teens growth in e-commerce.