Sporting goods firm Columbia Sportswear has confirmed to just-style that lease negotiations for its first branded store in Canada are ongoing.

The talks, for a flagship store in Toronto, are subject to a letter of intent that was signed by both parties several weeks ago.

A recent article in Canada's Financial Post said Columbia was interested in opening the Toronto store, saying it would take up a three-storey 28,000-square foot building.

However, a spokesperson for Columbia said that contrary to the report no lease has yet been signed for a site in the Canadian city.

The company said several significant elements of the proposed lease remain unresolved and, therefore, it could not speculate on when or whether a final agreement would be reached.

The Financial Post reported that the store would open in 2010, and the company spokesperson confirmed that it would not open this year.

"Under no scenario would there be enough time, nor do we intend, to open a branded store in Toronto in 2009," he said.

"Columbia's long-term strategy envisions opening branded retail stores in key metropolitan cities around the world, including Toronto.

"Branded retail stores create powerful brand environments that showcase Columbia's innovative technologies and breadth of products, which we believe benefits our wholesale accounts by increasing overall consumer demand for Columbia."

Columbia posted net income for 2008 of US$95.0m, down from net income of $144.5m for 2007 but pleasing CEO Tim Boyle in the context of the weak economic environment.