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The company had 53 more company-operated stores at the end of the second quarter of 2018 than it did a year prior. Wholesale reported revenues grew 14 per cent reflecting higher revenues in all regions.
On a reported basis, gross margin for the second quarter was 53.9 per cent of revenues compared with 52.3 per cent in the same quarter of fiscal 2017, reflecting the margin benefit from revenue growth in the direct-to-consumer channel and international business, a favourable transactional impact of currency and lower product sourcing costs.
The company's selling, general and administrative expenses (SG&A) for the reported quarter were $594 million compared with $496 million in the same quarter of fiscal 2017. The operating income of $77 million was up 22 per cent for the second quarter compared to the same quarter of fiscal 2017 reflecting the revenue growth and higher gross margins, partially offset by higher SG&A.
Cash from operations for the first half of the year was $228 million, an increase of $11 million from last year, which included a planned acceleration of pension funding of approximately $50 million. Free cash flow for the first six months of 2018 was $81 million, a decline of $19 million compared to the first six months of 2017. This was due to the increase in cash from operations being more than offset by realised losses on our hedging contracts compared to realised gains last year, higher repurchases of common stock in connection with our equity incentive program and a higher dividend payment.
"We delivered our third consecutive quarter of double-digit revenue growth, driven by the disciplined execution of our strategies and our more diversified portfolio," said Chip Bergh, president and chief executive officer, Levi Strauss & Co. "These results have outpaced the industry and exceeded even our own expectations, and as a result, we are raising our full-year revenue guidance." (RR)
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