Levi lowers full-year guidance on US wholesale weakness

Levi lowers full-year guidance on US wholesale weakness



Levi Strauss & Co

Levi Strauss

The retailer also reported quarterly revenue that was in line with expectations but were down 9% from a year ago, underscoring a broader slowdown in apparel spending amid an uncertain economic environment. 

The shares fell 5.1% at 4:17 p.m. in extended New York trading.

Direct-to-consumer revenue rose 13% in the three months ended May 28, while revenue at wholesalers was down 22%, pointing to more weakness at big-box retailers than on Levi’s website and stores. 

“Results were very much driven by a very strong direct to consumer business and also because of continued strength in our international business,” Levi Chief Executive Officer Chip Bergh

Sales in Asia rose 18%, reflecting strong growth in regions including China, the company said in a statement. Meanwhile, sales were down in the Americas and in Europe. 

For the full year, the company now expects adjusted earnings per share between $1.10 and $1.20, compared with a prior estimate of $1.30 to $1.40. Second quarter earnings of 4 cents a share, excluding some items, beat the average estimate of 3 cents.

“Our expectation is the economic environment is going to continue to be pretty challenging but the comparisons and the headwinds we’ve been facing continue to mitigate in the second half,” Bergh said, noting that costs of inputs like cotton and oil will be comparatively lower later this year. He added that the end of student loan forbearance this fall is “just going to ratchet up” pressure on the consumer.

The retailer also reported an improvement in gross margin thanks to better inventory management, price increases, lower air freight expenses and favorable currency exchange. That said, Levi is planning to cut prices on some items later this year, which may pressure margins in the second half, Chief Financial Officer Harmit Singh said in an interview. 

Ahead of the report, analysts noted that cautious consumer spending could impact Levi’s results in the short-term, but said that the company benefits from strong brand recognition and momentum globally which should support positive performance in the long run. Bergh said Levi grew market share in both its women’s and men’s businesses in the second quarter.

Levi is the first of the major US apparel retailers to report second-quarter earnings, and the results suggest other brands may be pressured by more cautious shopping behavior. Companies including Gap

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