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Columbia Eyes Still Bigger Footwear Business

This year, Columbia Sportswear is projecting its growth in footwear from its Columbia and Sorel brands to outpace its topline expansion in apparel. In FY19 ended Dec. 31, the company’s reported footwear sales grew 15 percent to $701.3 million.

“The investments we are making in footwear became evident to consumers with the SH/FT product launch in August, which is the first of many new product families to be unveiled in the coming seasons,” said Tim Boyle, chairman, president and CEO of the Portland, OR-based firm. “This new product, along with refreshed classic styles will be essential to building a much bigger footwear business with existing, as well as new accounts.”

In the fourth quarter, footwear reported sales rose 12 percent to $256.6 million and were driven by the Ice Maiden and Newton Ridge styles and the Bugaboot.

Beyond the Columbia brand, the company is projecting continued footwear sales momentum from its Sorel and PFG labels. Sorel’s FY19 net sales increased 22 percent to $314.2 million, driven by robust U.S. wholesale and e-commerce sales. The brand, projected to generate mid-teens growth in FY20, saw “evolution beyond its legacy winter utility business” in Q4.

“I think the whole concept of us putting together the athletic shoe comfort and a traditional hiking shoe to give ourselves city comfort and high performance on the trail is going to be the right way to go, and we’re very excited about the potential of that product combination,” Boyle said.