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Columbia Sportswear


shares rose 4% late Thursday after the parka purveyor posted solid fourth-quarter numbers and guided to more of the same for the first quarter.

For its fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, the Portland, Ore., company earned $39 million, or 97 cents a share, which is up from the year-ago $32 million, or 79 cents a share. Revenue rose to $302 million from $257 million a year earlier.

The figures were ahead of Wall Street's estimates. A Thomson First Call survey called for a 94-cent profit on sales of $292 million.

"We are very pleased with our outstanding fourth quarter financial results," CEO Tim Boyle said. "Despite unseasonable weather conditions in many key markets, sales growth was exceptional in our sportswear and footwear product categories, and sales of outerwear products were strong in Europe and Other International markets. Our diversified line of outdoor products and the expanding geographic presence of our brands were key drivers of overall sales growth during the fourth quarter."

The company also guided to an in-line first-quarter performance, saying it expects earnings to be roughly flat with a year ago on a 15% sales rise. Analysts had forecast first-quarter profits of 50 cents a share, up from 49 cents a year ago, on a 13% sales rise to $234 million.

"It is difficult for us to gauge revenue and profitability levels for the full year 2005 until we have more visibility into the fall 2005 season. In keeping with our standard practice, we will announce our fall 2005 backlog in our first quarter 2005 earnings release," Boyle said. "At that time we will give guidance for the full year."

Columbia rose $2.43 to $55.97 Thursday.