Outdoor clothing firm Columbia Sportswear has suffered a 3.1 per cent slip in third-quarter net profit on decreases in outerwear and accessories demand.

Columbia reported net income of $66.5 million for the quarter compared with income of $68.6m last year, while net sales fell 1.4 per cent to $409.8m from $415.8m a year ago.

Quarterly sportswear sales increased16.0 per cent to $125.7m, footwear sales increased 1.8 per cent to $63.8, equipment sales increased 5.9 per cent to $1.8m, accessories sales decreased 8.1 per cent to $17.1m and outerwear decreased 10.2 per cent.

Columbia president and chief executive officer Tim Boyle said: "The competitive environment in our core US outerwear business is intense, and US retail consolidation continues to impact our business.

"Also as expected, third-quarter European sales were weak in our German and Scandinavian markets. We are making investments in these areas to strengthen the core Columbia brand and improve our performance in these key markets."

Columbia currently anticipates fourth-quarter growth of about 1 per cent and a net income fall of about 18-21 per cent. The company reaffirmed its net sales growth expectation of about 5 per cent for the full 2005 year, and a net income slip of between 9 and 10 per cent.

1938-established Columbia Sportswear Company designs, sources, markets and distributes active outdoor apparel and footwear.