Columbia Sportswear sets aggressive growth target
14.10.2015 594 views
As president of Columbia Sportswear, which generates nearly two-thirds of its annual revenue in the third and fourth quarters, the 18-year company veteran jokes that having snow on the ground by Halloween is a good sign for the holiday season.
So with temperatures in New York City still in the 70s, Timm admitted he and the rest of the industry are getting "a little bit jumpy."
"Seventy degrees in New York? We don't wish for that," he said. In an effort to make its sales less dependent on cold weather, Columbia is working to evolve its assortment so that its products are practical year-round. But that's just one rung on the ladder it plans to climb toward a lofty five-year sales goal.
Last year marked the end of Columbia's decade-long journey to double its annual sales to $2 billion. Now, the company is shooting to once again double its revenues — this time to $4 billion — in half the time.
To get there, the team is turning away from the attitude that it's all about the Columbia brand, even though it accounts for roughly 83 percent of sales. Instead, Timm now sells Columbia Sportswear as a portfolio of labels, including bootmaker Sorel, outdoor apparel and equipment brand Mountain Hardware, and its latest addition, athleisure firm prAna.
His plans include growing these brands in the U.S. and overseas; further expanding the product assortment into warm-weather apparel and accessories; and keeping its eyes out for companies that would fill a hole in its portfolio.
Achieving its lofty goal won't come easy. The 77-year-old family company is facing formidable competitors in the outdoor space, including VF Corp's The North Face. That brand's revenues last year rose 11 percent to $2.3 billion.
Columbia is also fighting to capture the attention of the critical millennial group, whose members are expected to spend $63 billion this holiday season, according to PwC.
"To make the leap that they can continue to have that sustainable growth for the next five years I think is a little bit lofty," Canaccord Genuity analyst Camilo Lyon said.
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