Sports stock to watch: Columbia Sportswear Company (NASDAQ: COLM)

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Columbia Sportswear Company (NASDAQ: COLM) stock surged over 0.8% on Feb 11th, 2019 (as of 11:03 am GMT-5 ; Source: Google finance) and rose 15.59% on Feb 8th, 2019 after the company posted better than expected results for the fourth quarter 2018. Non-GAAP fourth quarter 2018 operating income of $154.5 million, or 17.2 percent of net sales, rose 34 percent compared to non-GAAP operating income of $115.6 million, or 14.9 percent of net sales, in fourth quarter 2017. At December 31, 2018, cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments totaled $700.6 million, compared to $768.1 million at December 31, 2017. Further, to cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments, the company had $14.0 million in restricted cash as of December 31, 2018, related to consideration placed in escrow as a portion of the funds needed to purchase the 40 percent non-controlling interest in the company’s China joint venture. The company closed the buyout transaction on January 2, 2019. Inventories increased 14 percent to $521.8 million at December 31, 2018 compared to $457.9 million at December 31, 2017.

COLM in the fourth quarter of FY 18 has reported the adjusted earnings per share of $1.68, beating the analysts’ estimates for the adjusted earnings per share of $1.27. The company had reported the adjusted revenue growth of 18 percent to $899.3 million in the fourth quarter of FY 18, beating the analysts’ estimates for revenue of $850.3 billion.

United States net sales rose 20 percent, due to low-20 percent growth in direct-to-consumer and high-teens percent growth in wholesale. The company operated 136 U.S. retail stores at December 31, 2018 compared with 129 at the same time last year. Latin America Asia Pacific net sales rose 16 percent due to the new revenue accounting standard as well as growth across Korea, Japan and China, partially offset by a decline in LAAP distributor net sales. LAAP non-GAAP net sales increased 4 percent (6 percent constant-currency). Europe Middle East and Africa net sales grew 12 percent (14 percent constant-currency), led by mid-teens percent Europe-direct growth and high-single-digit percent EMEA distributor net sales growth. Canada net sales increased 21 percent (26 percent constant-currency), reflecting strong wholesale and DTC performance

The company currently expects full year 2019 net sales to be in the range of approximately $2.97 to $3.03 billion, representing 6.0 to 8.0 percent net sales growth, compared with full year 2018 net sales of $2.80 billion. The company expects full year 2019 gross margin to improve by approximately 70 basis points (gross margin of approximately 50.2 percent) compared to full year 2018 gross margin of 49.5 percent.

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