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Levi Strauss posts Q4 profit on flat sales, ends sales decline

Feb '06
Denim maker Levi Strauss & Co has announced its financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended November 27, 2005, and filed 2005 Form 10-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

2005 full-year results reflect continued improvement in the company's financial performance across key operating measures compared to the prior year. These include:

1. Full-year net sales increased $53 million;

2. Operating income improved by $228 million; and

3. Net income increased $126 million.

Phil Marineau, Chief Executive Officer, said, "We accomplished our primary objectives."

"We substantially improved the company's profitability and ended an eight-year sales decline. The actions we've taken to transform the company have clearly improved our competitiveness. 2006 will be challenging given the ongoing uncertainty of the retail marketplace in the United States and Europe, but I'm encouraged by our prospects given the innovative and highly competitive products that we have in the pipeline," he added.

The net sales were $4.13 billion compared to $4.07 billion for fiscal year 2004, reflecting a 1 percent increase on a reported basis and flat on a constant-currency basis. The net sales increase was driven by sales growth in the Asia Pacific region, US Levi Strauss Signature brand and Levi Strauss Mexico, partially offset by decreased net sales in Europe.

Gross profit increased $104 million to $1.9 billion compared to $1.8 billion in the prior year. The gross margin benefited from the improved profitability of the Levi's brand in Europe, Asia, Canada and Mexico; improved management of returns, sales allowances and product transition costs in the US Dockers brand; and lower product sourcing costs.

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