The management of Columbia Sportswear is projecting an increase of 4.5 to 6.0 percent in its total sales this year, with an operating margin of 12.6 to 12.8 percent.

In 2019, the company’s net sales rose by 9 percent to a record of $3,042.5 million, with growth of 10 percent in constant currencies, and its operating margin expanded by 0.5 percentage points to 13.0 percent. Thanks to a strong start to the year, the group’s net earnings jumped by 23 percent to $314.2 million.

The situation was different in the fourth quarter ended on Dec. 31, when sales increased by only 4 percent to $954.9 million. The gross margin dipped by 1.6 percentage points to 50.1 percent and the operating margin declined by 2.1 percentage points to 14.5 percent, leading to a gain of only 1 percent in net income to $114.0 million.

Columbia blamed a warm holiday season around the globe for the lackluster performance. In terms of constant currencies, sales rose by 8 percent in the U.S. and by 10 percent in the EMEA region, but they were off by 10 percent in Canada and by 4 percent in the Latin America/Asia-Pacific region.

Keeping its momentum, Sorel showed a gain of 14 percent in the quarter, while the Columbia brand and Mountain Hardwear posted increases of 4 percent and 5 percent, respectively. Prana was off by 10 percent. Across the group, sales of footwear went up by 13 percent, while apparel, accessories and equipment recorded an increase of 2 percent.

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