Jeans giant Levi Strauss & Co. on Tuesday reported a 37 percent decline in profit for the second quarter, after being hit by falling revenues in Asia and Europe reflecting a weak global economy, higher cotton prices and the negative impact of currency.
The privately-held clothing company designs and markets jeans, casual wear and related accessories for men, women and children under the Levi’s, Dockers, Signature by Levi Strauss & Co., and Denizen brands.
Chip Bergh, president and chief executive officer of Levi Strauss & Co said, “It is clear that the economic headwinds are getting stronger. While our business grew in the Americas, primarily driven by our own retail stores, Europe continues to be a challenge, and for the first time in two years our business in Asia declined.”
Bergh added, “In the face of these tougher economic conditions, we are rationalizing our business, reducing operating costs and focusing our resources on the opportunities that will have the most impact in growing shareholder value.”
The company’s gross margin for the quarter was 46 percent of revenues, down from 49 percent in the year-ago period.
The decline in gross margin was primarily due to higher-priced cotton, which were not fully covered by price increases. However, margin benefited from increased revenues from the company’s retail network and a decline in sales to lower-margin channels, reflecting the company’s tighter inventory position
San Francisco-based Levi Strauss’ net income for the second quarter was $13.23 million, down from $20.97 million in the year-ago period.
The decline in net income reflects a lower gross margin due to the higher cost of cotton, and a debt extinguishment charge of $8 million.
The debt extinguishment charge was incurred as the company completed a successful refinancing of $400 million of its debt, taking advantage of lower interest rates and extending its bond maturity profile.
The company’s net revenues for the quarter declined 4.2 percent to $1.05 billion from $1.09 billion in the prior-year period, primarily due to a decline in sales in Asia Pacific and Europe. Net revenue declined 1 percent on a constant currency basis.
Levi Strauss’ net revenues increased 1 percent in the Americas, primarily reflecting higher revenues from the company’s Levi’s brand retail stores and increased sales of Denizen as well as Signature brand products.
However, net revenues in Europe declined 10 percent on a reported basis, primarily due to a lower volume of sales to the traditional wholesale channels and to franchisee stores, reflecting the ongoing depressed retail environment, most notably in southern Europe.
Net revenues in Asia Pacific decreased 12 percent on a reported basis as the company’s key markets, such as India and China, faced increased economic challenges.
Levi Strauss’ net debt at the end of the second quarter was $1.5 billion, down from $1.8 billion at the end of 2011. The company’s total liquidity position was $864 million.