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Levi's posts first quarter sales rise

Denim brand Levi Strauss & Co reported a year-on-year increase in quarterly sales of 2% in Europe, up from $306m (£187.2m) in February 2010 to $312m (£190.9m) in February 2011.

The denim giant said net revenues in Europe for the first quarter to February 27, increased due to the expansion and improved performance of the company-operated retail network and higher sales to franchised stores.  The sales growth also reflected the success of the Levi’s Curve ID collection for women.

The brand, which manufactures Levi’s jeans and Dockers trousers, said global sales for the period increased by 8% up from $1bn (£633m) in February 2010 to $1.12bn (£685.6m) in February this year.

However, globally the denim giant reported an overall drop in quarterly net profit of 26.8% for the period.

Levi’s said profits declined due to a drop in the company’s gross margin and a non-operating charge from the company’s foreign exchange management activities.

“We made progress executing against our strategic initiatives and drove sales growth across all regions in the first quarter,” said John Anderson, president and chief executive.

Gross margin was down 1.7 percentage points to 49.8% of revenue as Levi’s offered more discounting on its products in an attempt to drive sales.

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