Tue, 18 May 2021

Levi shares rise with report of 41% jump in online sales

Robert Besser
13 Apr 2021, 16:31 GMT+10

SAN FRANCISCO, California: Denim manufacturer Levi Strauss reported better-than-expected earnings for the first quarter ended February 28 and raised its revenue guidance for the first half of 2021 amid expectations of mass vaccinations spurring a rebound in sales.

"As the vaccine rollout continues and consumer excitement returns, I am more confident than ever that we will emerge from the pandemic a stronger business," said Levi chief executive officer Chip Bergh, as quoted by Reuters.

The San Francisco-based jeans maker reported a 13-percent decline in net revenue to $1.31 billion in the first quarter, but it was still higher than analysts' forecast of $1.25 billion.

While sales at physical stores tumbled amid pandemic lockdowns and restrictions, with more than 40 percent of Levi's European stores closing doors and the remainder reducing operating hours, the company recorded a 41-percent jump in digital revenue, including sales from wholesale partners.

Levi Strauss reported adjusted earnings per share of 34 cents, higher than analysts' forecast of 25 cents, and also raised its quarterly dividend to 6 cents per share from 4 cents.

For the first half of 2021, the jeans maker has projected a 24 to 25 percent increase in revenue, up from its initial guidance of 18-20 percent.

The company has also forecast adjusted per-share profits to reach 41 cents to 42 cents. Analysts have forecast a profit of 30 cents per share for the first and second quarter of the 2021 fiscal, according to IBES data provided by Refinitiv.

The upbeat guidance and earnings sent the company's shares surging 5 percent in extended trading.

Several apparel companies, including Nike and Kohl's, are banking on store traffic rebounding this year to normal levels, even amid a pandemic-fueled boom in online sales in recent months.

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