Columbia Sportswear Reports Layoffs


Columbia Sportswear, the parent company of Convert snowboarding outerwear, has become the latest sporting goods manufacturer in the Portland area to announce layoffs. However, Public Relations Manager Leslie Constans says that “no staffing in Convert was impacted by this. It was Columbia Sportswear specific.”

Portland’s Oregonian newspaper reported that the company trimmed its headcount through layoffs and voluntary buyouts, but the company was unwilling to comment on exact numbers. Spokesman John Fread did tell an Oregonian reporter that the cuts were in all departments but that the reductions were not statistically significant. The company has just under 4,000 employees worldwide, with about 1,700 in the United State.

Fread told the Oregonian that “the reductions primarily occurred as part of the company’s strategy to grow its brand internationally.” He acknowledged that the slowing economy also played a role in the decision. Columbia’s stock price is more than one-third below its 52-week high of $70 on June 1, and warned Wall Street last month that sales and earnings for the remainder of 2008 would not meet expectations.

Fread said Columbia Sportswear (NASDAQ: COLM) last faced layoffs in 1999.

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