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"It is encouraging to see the momentum we created in 2018 continue into this year, with record first quarter net sales, gross margin, operating income, net income and earnings per diluted share. During the quarter, we experienced a strong finish to the Fall 2018 sales season as well as excellent early season sell-through of our Spring 2019 assortment. The Columbia brand generated double-digit growth in the US across both direct-to-consumer and wholesale distribution channels and the Sorel brand grew an impressive 28 percent globally. We are also delivering on the financial value capture of Project Connect, which helped to fuel 210 basis points of gross margin expansion," president and chief executive officer Tim Boyle said.
"Above plan first quarter 2019 results as well as favourable advance Fall 2019 orders give us confidence to increase our full year financial outlook. It is important to note that we are delivering this profitable growth while at the same time making substantial investments to build on our strengths as a brand-led consumer-focused organisation," added Boyle.
Net income increased 64 percent to $74.2 million, or $1.07 per diluted share, from $45.1 million, or $0.64 per diluted share, for the comparable period in 2018. Net income increased 36 per cent from non-Gaap net income of $54.5 million, or $0.77 per diluted share for the comparable period in 2018. First quarter 2019 net income includes the benefit of full ownership of our China business, which became a wholly owned subsidiary effective January 2019. In the first quarter of 2018 the non-controlling interest share of net income was $3.6 million, or $0.05 per diluted share.
For full year 2019, the company expects net sales of $2.98 to $3.04 billion (prior $2.97 to $3.03 billion), representing net sales growth of 6.5 to 8.5 per cent (prior 6.0 to 8.0 per cent). Net sales guidance includes a foreign currency translation impact that is anticipated to reduce net sales growth by approximately 70 basis points.
The company forecasts operating income of $378 to $391 million (prior $369 to $382 million), representing operating margin of 12.7 to 12.9 percent (prior 12.4 to 12.6 per cent) in 2019.
"We are making these investments to enable sustainable long-term profitable growth, make us a more efficient company, and drive market share capture across our brand portfolio and geographic regions," concluded Boyle. (RR)
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