Leading producer of outdoor clothing and footwear, Columbia Sportswear Co, on Thursday posted a double-digit rise in third quarter sales and profit growth from the year-ago period and lifted its view for the current quarter.

The Oregon-based company said net income in the 13 weeks ended September 30 rose 11.8 per cent to $63.6 million, or $1.56 a share, from $56.9m, or $1.42 a share, in the same period of the prior year.

Sales rose 12.6 per cent to $373.4m from $331.5m last year and said it now expects fourth quarter earnings to rise between four and six per cent year-on-year on revenue growth of 14 to 16 per cent.

Compared to the year-ago period, third quarter US sales rose 6.7 per cent to $249.8m, Canadian sales jumped 19 per cent to $49.4m, European sales surged 38.9 per cent to $45.7m and other international sales rose 24.5 per cent to $28.5m.

Excluding changes in currency exchange rates, Canadian sales grew 5.7 per cent, European sales 21.8 per cent and other international sales increased 24.3 per cent. Consolidated net sales, excluding changes in currency exchange rates, increased 9.3 per cent to $362.3m from last year.

Columbia added outerwear sales increased 3.2 per cent to $220.9m, sportswear sales increased 36.7 per cent to $86m, footwear sales jumped 21.9 per cent to $46.2m, and accessories sales climbed 13.2 per cent to $18.9m.

It also revealed recently acquired subsidiary Mountain Hardwear contributed $13m in sales during the third quarter.

President and CEO, Tim Boyle, commented: "Our better-than-expected third quarter sales and earnings resulted from exceptional sales growth in our sportswear product category, the continued development of our footwear product category and the sustained sales momentum of our brands in key international markets.

"Going forward, we expect sales velocity to continue through the fourth quarter and into the first quarter of next year."

Global spring product backlog increased 26.7 per cent to $292.5m and full year 2003 net income guidance was raised to 15 per cent to 16 per cent year over year growth, it added.