• Q4 profit up 13% to $26.2m
  • Net sales increased 28% to $457.3m
  • Columbia brand sales up by 22% 

A focus on innovative new technologies has helped outdoor clothing, footwear and equipment maker Columbia Sportswear to a 13% jump in fourth quarter profit.

Central to its line-up is Omni-Heat, which gives warmth to outdoor apparel without bulk or weight through a combination of heat reflective, thermal and electric features. In particular is drove sales of the firm’s namesake Columbia line by 22% in the quarter and 18% for the full year.

“Omni-Heat products have sold briskly in all key markets, supported by our largest, most comprehensive and most integrated marketing campaign ever,” explained president and CEO Tim Boyle.

He added that the innovation also drove “solid sell-through at our wholesale customers and stronger-than-expected growth in direct-to-consumer sales.”

In the three months to 31 December, Columbia’s net income rose 13% to $26.2m, or $0.77 per share, up from $23.1m, or $0.68 per share, a year earlier.

Quarterly sales meanwhile, jumped 28% to $457.3m, from $358.3m last time. Changes in foreign currency exchange rates contributed less than 1% of that growth, the company said. Mountain Hardwear sales grew 38%, while revenues at the Sorel footwear brand surged 74%.

For the full-year, net income increased 15% to $77.0m, or $2.26 per share, up from $67.0m or $1.97 per share, the year before. Sales were up 19% to a record $1.484bn, the company said.

Looking ahead, to fiscal 2011, Columbia expects to achieve a low double-digit percent increase in net sales and a slight expansion of gross margins. For the first quarter, sales are seen increasing by mid- to high-single-digits over last year’s first quarter.