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Levi’s posts fourth quarter profits leap

Levi Strauss & Co said fourth quarter European sales jumped 4.2% to $300m (£186m), boosted by retail store openings and the launch of the Levi’s Curve ID fit system, which it will roll out to wholesale accounts.

Net income in the three months to November 28 grew to $86.4m (£53.7m) for the final quarter, up from $67.2m (£41.8m) the previous year.

Levi’s president and chief executive officer John Anderson said the Levi’s Curve ID fit system had “exceeded expectations” and the company was planning to roll out the system to wholesale customers this year, beginning with its US department store accounts.

By region, sales in America rose 7.2% to $772m (£480m), Asia-Pacific revenues were up 8.5% to reach $218m (£135m). At constant currency rates, America was up 7%, Europe up 11% and Asia-Pacific up 3%.

The group reported a 28.4% rise in fourth-quarter profits across all markets, bolstered by growth in retail sales across all its markets except Japan, which it says continues to battle gloomy macroeconomic conditions.Total sales grew 6.7% to $1.3bn (£0.8bn).

The company grew its base of standalone stores to 470 by the end of last year, about 190 of them in the America, from 414 a year earlier. Overseas, franchise stores grew to about 2,000 from about 1,600 in the same period last year.

For the full year, net income rose 3% to $156.5m (£96m). Revenues increased 7.4 percent to $4.41bn (£2.7bn).

Anderson said the company planned to continue its pace of retail expansion in 2011, with China, India, Indonesia and Europe showing huge opportunities.

In the second half of last year, Levi’s opened about 50 stores for Denizen, its new label based in Asia, primarily in China, India, Singapore and South Korea

Improvements at Dockers in the department store channel have been driven by slim fits, fashion finishes and new colors, said Anderson. “We’ve brought a lot of freshness into the category. It’s a category that hasn’t seen a lot of innovation for years and there’s a whole new consumer looking for a khaki product.”

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