Columbia Sportswear Company on Thursday said third quarter profit was up 7.9 per cent on the same period last year, driven by strong sales in its sportswear and footwear product categories.

Net income was $68.6 million, versus $63.6 million for the same period of 2003 the Portland, Ore-based company said in a statement.

Net sales in the quarter increased 11.4 per cent to $415.8 million, from $373.4 million in last year's quarter.

Compared to the third quarter of 2003, US sales increased 5.8 per cent to $264.4 million.

International sales increased 51.2 per cent to $43.1 million, or 47.8 per cent excluding the effect of exchange rates; European sales increased 28.7 per cent to $58.8 million, or 18.9 per cent excluding currency effects; and Canadian sales increased 0.2 per cent to $49.5 million, or a decrease of 4.1 per cent when currency is taken into account.

Consolidated net sales for the third quarter of 2004 increased 9.3 per cent, excluding changes in currency exchange rates, compared to the same period of last year.

Quarterly sportswear sales increased 26.0 per cent to $108.4 million, footwear sales increased 35.7 per cent to $62.7 million, and outerwear sales increased 1.6 per cent to $224.4 million.

Based on these results the company has raised its full year 2004 net income guidance to 14-15 per cent over 2003 results.