Columbia sportswear

Columbia Sportswear CEO Tim Boyle on Online Shopping After Coronavirus

CEO of Columbia Sportswear Tim boyle told CNBC on Thursday that the acceleration of the coronavirus pandemic in online shopping trends would not lead to the demise of physical retail.

But the longtime apparel industry executive admitted that the health crisis had changed the company’s outlook on the future of large-scale e-commerce.

“I think the shift to digital shopping on all kinds of products, but especially clothing and footwear, is here to stay and will likely be bigger than we initially thought,” Boyle said during “ Closing Bell “.

In its July quarterly earnings report, Columbia reported a 40% drop in its overall net income due in part to store closures linked to the pandemic. However, the outerwear manufacturer E-commerce sales increased 72% compared to the period of the previous year.

Stressing the importance of a strong online shopping experience for customers, Boyle said the company’s ‘only survivor’ capital expenditure project in 2020 was “a real complete overhaul on our own website.” .

Boyle pointed out, however, that there is a value offered by an in-store experience that cannot be digitally matched, especially for shoes and other clothing offerings in which Columbia specializes.

“Retailing bricks and mortar for this type of product is not going to go away,” said Boyle, CEO since 1988. He joined the Portland, Ore., Based company, which was run by his father, in 1971. .

“Our customers love to spend money on products that fit them well and make them look great, and there’s no substitute for having something physically and making that decision,” Boyle added.

Columbia shares closed 1.5% higher Thursday at $ 88.29 apiece. The company, which has a market capitalization of around $ 5.8 billion, has seen its shares fall nearly 12% since the start of the year.

The pandemic has had significant global economic consequences, but some industries and activities have benefited from people’s growing interest in spending time outdoors. For example, bicycle sales have exploded, resulting in reported shortages. There was also a race on recreational vehicles, such as motor homes.

Columbia has gone through the same change and expects it to remain sustainable, Boyle said. “It always helps when [Dr.] Anthony Fauci is telling people to get out, at least for our business, ”he said, referring to the White House coronavirus adviser and infectious disease expert.

“People are watching the outdoors, it’s a safe and inexpensive way to spend time with their families, and I think we’re in the right place,” Boyle added. “Frankly, if we were to sell bespoke clothing or formal wear, it would be a whole different story.”

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