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Levi's Q4 sales fall back

Levi’s saw Q4 revenues in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, fall by 4% and operating income dip 13% but full year operating income rose 9% $258 million (£179.1m) as a result of favourable currency exchange rates.

Levi’s said full year net revenues also rose by 9% to $1.2 billion (£832.9 million) for the Europe, Middle East and North Africa regions (LSEMA).

Levi’s said in a statement that beyond the favourable impact of currency exchange rates, it had seen incremental sales at its new company-owned and franchise stores, which had helped it to offset a weaker wholesale performance.

It blamed the Q4 revenue fall on increased selling costs attached to newly opened company-stores.

Globally, Levi Strauss & Co’s net revenue rose 1% to $4.4bn (£3bn) for the fiscal year ended November 30. Total operating income for the year fell by 18% to $525m (£363.2m), mainly because of increased costs attached to opening company-owned stores and increased advertising and promotional expenses.

Levi Strauss & Co president and chief executive John Anderson said: “Levi’s brand revenues grew in each of our regions, demonstrating its ability to perform even in tough economic times. The global Leiv’s 501 marketing campaign contributed to a substantial worldwide sales increase for 501 jeans in 2008. And the continued growth of our retail network helped offset a slowdown in our wholesale channels.”

Anderson added: “Looking ahead, we expect the year to be difficult. The outlook remains uncertain and we face stiff headwinds. With this in mind, we will focus on maintaining strong liquidity, containing costs and investing strategically in our brands to build market share so we are well-positioned when market conditions improve.”

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