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Columbia Sportswear cuts 4Q forecast on weak sales

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Columbia Sportswear Co. trimmed its fourth-quarter sales outlook on Wednesday, citing mild winter weather which hurt sales of outdoor gear, discounting and a drop in customer traffic in key markets.

The news drove shares of the outdoor clothing and shoe company down 9 percent after hours to $47.65. Its stock fell 50 cents to close regular trading at $52.16.

Columbia, whose brands include Mountain Hardwear, Sorel, and Montrail in addition to its namesake brand, previously expected sales during the holiday quarter to grow up to 1.5 percent from the $526.1 million that it booked in the prior-year period. That would have equaled about $534 million — in line with estimates of analysts polled by FactSet. But Columbia now expects revenue of $499 million to $503 million for the period ended Dec. 31, a drop of 5 percent.

The Portland, Ore.-based company said the mild winter weather and cautious customer spending, among other factors, drove higher order cancellations and fewer reorders from wholesale customers. The company also noted that about one-third of its revenue shortfall was due to a shift of certain advance orders into the first quarter.

Due to the lower sales, increased discounting and liquidation of excess inventory, Columbia now expects quarterly net income between $37 million and $40 million, versus its prior forecast of $44 million. Analysts had forecast $44.5 million, on average.

The company expects to report results for the fourth quarter and full year on Feb. 7.