By Bill Peters and Jeremy C. Owens
Levi Strauss & Co. executives on Thursday reduced their expectations for the year as a stronger dollar and weaker economy contributed to a miss on quarterly revenue.
The jeans-maker reported third-quarter net income of $172.9 million, or 43 cents a share, on sales of $1.52 billion, up from $1.5 billion in the year-earlier quarter. After adjusting for restructuring, impairment and other charges, Levi Strauss /zigman2/quotes/204763189/composite LEVI +2.56% , which also owns Dockers, earned 40 cents a share, compared with 48 cents a share in the prior-year period.
Analysts polled by FactSet expected the company to earn 37 cents a share on revenue of $1.6 billion. Shares fell between 4.5% and 5% in after-hours trading following the announcement, after closing with a 3.9% decline at $15.93.
After missing analysts’ estimates on sales, executives reduced their annual forecast for both revenue and earnings. In Thursday’s announcement, they said the reduction was “a result of the significant incremental currency headwinds from the stronger U.S. dollar, as well as a more cautious outlook for North America and Europe due to macroeconomic conditions and ongoing supply chain disruptions.”
Executives now expect annual adjusted earnings of $1.44 to $1.49 a share, after previously stating $1.50 to $1.56 a share; and 2022 net revenue of roughly $6.15 billion to $6.17 billion, after previously guiding for $6.4 billion to $6.5 billion.
“While we expect the macroeconomic backdrop to remain unpredictable over the next few quarters, our strong brands, diversified business model and proven team position us to deliver on our long-term objectives,” Chief Executive Chip Bergh said in a statement.
Walmart Inc. /zigman2/quotes/207374728/composite WMT +0.15% and other retailers that sell clothing, along with companies like Nike Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203439053/composite NKE +2.80% , have been racing to cut prices to move clothing and offseason goods from their shelves, as rising prices this year forced many customers to prioritize spending on groceries and gas over apparel. But Levi’s CFO Harmit Singh, during a conference in August, suggested the company was somewhat immune to that bigger discounting drive.
“A large piece of our inventory is core,” he said. “So you can sell through multiple seasons. So we don’t necessarily have to mark down. That’s one of the advantages of the brand.”
However, Singh said the company had noticed “signs of weakness” in lower-income consumers. Levi Strauss, he said, got a small share of its sales from retailers like Walmart and Target Corp. /zigman2/quotes/207799045/composite TGT +0.29% , where more lower-income consumers shop. Other challenges to sales included a temporary halt to operations in Russia following the war in Ukraine, China’s lockdowns and the stronger dollar, he said.
He also said the company was trying to take advantage of “casualization tailwinds” that have emerged since the height of the pandemic. He said jeans had become more acceptable at work, and that more people prefer to dress casually while in the office.
Shares of Levi Straus are down 36.4% so far this year, while the S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.75% has declined 20.6%.