In the past, Columbia has been hurt by warm winter, as it specialized in selling high-tech jackets and boots. It stepped up its innovation game in an effort to make itself less dependent on cold weather through the introduction of products, such as rain jackets, that can be useful year round.
"The team there has done a terrific job, and frankly, not that Wall Street gets a little myopic, but if it snows in New York City, our share price goes up. But it does snow elsewhere in the world, and we have a big business elsewhere," Boyle said.
Retailers have been under the microscope, as bricks-and-mortar stores have seen a decrease in foot traffic. Boyle complimented Columbia's approach to keep up the pace by leveraging the company's strong balance sheet to extend credit to retailers and use their existing infrastructure to sell products.
"We can't do it with everybody, and we have to be very careful about how we extend credit," Boyle said.
Columbia has a long history as a family-run company, stretching back to 1938 when Chairman Gert Boyle's parents fled Nazi Germany to Portland, Oregon. Upon arrival, they purchased Columbia Hat Company. Gert's husband took over the operations of the company until he passed away, inspiring Gert to transition from a housewife to executive practically overnight. Her son, Tim Boyle, now runs the company.
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