• Q3 profit slipped 4.7% to $64.4m
  • Sales down 3.8% to $545m
  • CEO expects continued slow growth 

Outdoor apparel and footwear firm Columbia Sportswear has raised its full-year earnings outlook despite posting a 4.7% decline in third-quarter net profit.

Net income fell to US$64.4m for the quarter ended 30 September, compared to $67.5m the prior year. The company said a higher effective tax rate contributed $0.11 to the decline.

Operating income increased to $87.8m, compared to $86.6m the same period last year, while sales slipped 3.8% to $545m.

"Our third quarter benefited from improved gross margins and disciplined expense management, resulting in higher operating margin and further demonstrating our ability to navigate effectively through a slow-growth environment," noted CEO and president Tim Boyle.

"We are pleased to raise our 2012 operating margin outlook based on better-than-expected results through the first nine months of the year."

"Looking ahead to 2013, we anticipate continued slow growth through at least the first half of the year, based in part on advance spring 2013 wholesale orders, the fragile US recovery, continued uncertainty in Europe, and signs of slowing in key Asian markets."

The company said it expects full-year net sales to match last year's $1.7bn, with operating margin edging up to 8.3% from 8.1% last year.