Sports apparel is a healthy, growing niche. In 2010, the sector logged $30 billion wholesale and grew 4.8 percent over 2009, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. Also, there’s lots of room for growth, since the top 10 brands own just 30 percent of a booming market. As a result, savvy companies are faring well. Under Armour (UA) stock is up 32 percent so this year and Timberland (TBL) has put on 74.7 percent.
Columbia Sportswear (COLM) hasn’t been as fortunate. It’s year to date return is negative double-digits. Over the past two years, the stock has spiked only to fall back. Sales sagged in 2008 and 2009. They finally began to turn around in 2010.
Now the sports apparel company appears to be regaining momentum. Second quarter revenues rose 21 percent, to $268 million from $221.8 million a year ago. All its brands are strong climbers. Sales for Columbia brand goods, sold in more than 100 countries, rose 20 percent; Sorel footwear rose 106 percent; and Mountain Hard Wear apparel and equipment rose 24 percent.
On the downside, Columbia Sportswear posted a second quarter net loss of $13.6 million. CEO Tim Boyle noted, though, that the full-year objective remains “record sales and improved profitability.”
Fleet of foot
Of the 14 analysts followed by Thomson/First Call, three have strong buy recommendations on Columbia Sportswear and three have buys, with eight holds.
Barclays gives the company an overweight rating, citing its focus on innovation and technology. They especially like Sorel footwear’s strong sales momentum. The company reports next in late October.
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