Jarden Corp. said sales at its Outdoor Solutions segment, which owns Coleman, Campingaz, K2, Marmot, Penn, Rawlings, Shakespeare, Stearns, Volkl and Zoot reached $604.7 million in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, up 6.9% from the same period a year ago, or 8% after adjusting for exchange rates.

Operating earnings at the business reached $68.6 million, up 8.2% from $63.4 million in the year-ago period. For the first nine months of the year, Outdoor Solutions sales reached $1.91 billion, up 6.1% from $1.80 billion for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2009.

Strength in the segment was fueled by continued strong sales at Coleman, both domestically and internationally and strong early season sales in skiing and technical apparel.

“The outdoor solutions segment continues to benefit from greater consumer participation in a number of key categories,” said Martin E. Franklin, chairman and CEO of Jarden Corporation.

Franklin said the 2010-2011 winter sport season got off to a “very good” start in Europe and the U.S., where Labor Day and Columbus Day sales exceeded expectation.  New Rocker ski technology at K2 and Volkl and AT bindings in the K2 and Marker lines drove solid growth of equipment sales. Sell-in and sell-through of Marmot branded products was also strong.

Company President Jim Lillie said sales of hardgoods like fishing rods and reels and appliances are improving at specially retail outlets, indicating improving consumer sentiment among the majority of Americans who are employed.  He said retailers are responding by modestly increasing their inventories to support growth projections.  On the team sports side, Franklin noted that the recent bankruptcy of Schutt Sports should lead to “meaningful growth” in sales of football helmets, a market Rawlings is entering for next year’s season.