Levi Strauss & Co. comes back to market

Levi Strauss & Co.'s second-quarter profit rose 14 percent, accelerating a comeback. The storied jeans maker might go public again after more than two decades as a privately held company.

The San Francisco-based company said Tuesday it earned $45.7 million (33.44 million EUR) during the three months ended May 27 compared with net income of $40.2 million (29.42 million EUR) a year ago.

Net revenue including licensing revenue rose nearly 6 percent to $1.02 billion (0.75 billion EUR) from $961 million (703.21 million EUR) a year ago.

Although Levi's has been family owned since 1985, the company still discloses its financial results because its debt is publicly traded.

For most of the past decade, Levi's quarterly reports have been gloomy accounts marked by eroding sales and crumbling profits that reflected the declining popularity of its jeans and other clothes.

But the story has been changing during the last two years as the company benefited from years of cost-cutting and a modest upturn in its sales.

This marks Levi's seventh consecutive quarter of rising profits. The company is now on pace for its best year since its financial funk that has seen its annual sales fall in nine of the last 10 years. The only exception occurred in 2005 when Levi's edged up by just 1 percent.

Through the first half of its current fiscal year, Levi's revenue increased by more than 6 percent to $2.05 billion (1.5 billion EUR), producing a profit of $132.4 million (96.88 million EUR) - a 40 percent improvement from earnings of $94 million (68.78 million EUR) in the same period last year.

"Our growth momentum continues," said John Anderson, Levi's chief executive officer. "Our premium products are resonating with consumers."

Hans Ploos van Amstel, Levi's chief financial officer, predicted the upturn will continue during the final half of the year.

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