Levi's clothes can be seen on a store shelf in Miami, Florida.
Joe Raedle | Getty Images
Levi Strauss & Co. reported Wednesday that total sales were down 12% for the vacation quarter. This is an improvement over a decline of more than 20% in the previous period as the weak customer traffic in the branches was partially offset by double-digit online growth.
Stocks recently rose more than 1% in after-hours trading after initially falling more than 4%.
Chief Executive Chip Bergh told CNBC that last quarter's results exceeded the denim maker's internal expectations and nearly met the "best-case scenario" that Levi put forward when the Covid pandemic first hit the US and bothered many companies.
"We have been very focused on [directly to the consumer] and in particular on e-commerce," Bergh said in a telephone interview. "Our e-commerce business was profitable for the fourth quarter and profitable for the full year."
Levi's global digital sales, which include online sales of its goods at wholesale partners, represented 23% of sales in the fourth quarter, up from 15% in the year-ago period.
Here's how Levi Strauss & Co. performed in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year compared to analysts' expectations using refinitive data:
Earnings per share: 20 cents, adjusted versus 15 cents, expected Revenue: $ 1.39 billion versus $ 1.34 billion, expected
For the three-month period ended Nov. 29, Levi made $ 57 million, or 14 cents per share, compared to $ 96 million, or 23 cents per share, last year. With no one-time cost, it earned 20 cents per share, which was better than what analysts expected 15 cents using refinitive data.
Net sales decreased 12% from $ 1.57 billion a year ago to $ 1.39 billion. That was better than what analysts had forecasted $ 1.34 billion.
Global digital sales increased 34%, including sales on partner platforms like Amazon.
Levi said revenue from its wholesale partners declined 15% in the quarter, while revenue direct to consumers declined 5% due to fewer in-store visits.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt normal business operations, around 40% of stores in Europe and 17% worldwide, including franchise-operated locations, are currently closed, according to the company.
"The recent virus recurrence underscores that the ultimate impact of the Covid-19 pandemic remains highly uncertain," Levi said in his earnings announcement. "The company anticipates its business … will continue to be significantly impacted at least in the first half of 2021, and there is still the possibility of additional Covid-19 inventory and other costs."
Levi stock was up just over 8% year over year at close of trading on Wednesday. The company has a market capitalization of $ 8.8 billion.
The full press release from Levi Strauss & Co. can be found here.