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Analyst cuts estimates on Columbia Sportswear

NEW YORK (AP) -- A warm winter that has hurt sales might also put a chill on Columbia Sportswear's turnaround plan and hurt the outdoor gear maker's earnings, an analyst said Thursday.

Last week, Columbia Sportswear cut its fourth-quarter sales outlook, due to a mild winter, stepped up discounting and a drop in traffic. Columbia sells jackets, shoes, tents, backpacks and a wide variety of other outdoor gear under its eponymous brand as well as the Sorel, Mountain Hardwear and Montrail brands.

Janney Capital Markets analyst Eric Tracy said the move was not surprising, because of the mild start to winter, but added that the combination of weather plus bigger issues like the U.S. payroll tax increase tied to the "fiscal cliff" deal and weakness in Europe may put a damper on Columbia's turnaround plan.

He lowered his 2012 earnings estimate to $2.90 from $3.20 per share and his 2013 estimate to $3.20 from $3.34 per share.

Analysts expect 2012 earnings of $2.96 per share and 2013 earnings of $3.21 per share.

Shares of Columbia fell 76 cents to $49.28 during morning trading.