Levi Strauss & Co. Raises Dividend and Outlook on Vaccine Rollout

Denim clothing maker saw net revenue fall 13% in fiscal first quarter on COVID-19 effects, absence of Black Friday in period.
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Levi Strauss & Co.  (LEVI) - Get Report raised its dividend and its guidance after the bell Thursday, citing the continued rollout of COVID-19 vaccines as it reported its latest financial results.

The maker of iconic jeans and other clothing raised its fiscal first-half 2021 reported net revenues outlook to 24% to 25% growth vs. the first half of 2020. It raised its first-half adjusted earnings-per-share estimate to 41 cents to 42 cents. It also increased its quarterly dividend to 6 cents a share.

"We've started the year strong, beating our internal expectations even as we are lapping a particularly good quarter in the prior year," said Chip Bergh, CEO, in a statement. “As the vaccine rollout continues and consumer excitement returns, I am more confident than ever that we will emerge from the pandemic a stronger business and drive sustainable, profitable growth," he added.

Bergh's comments echo perceptions elsewhere. Earlier this week analysts at UBS raised their estimates on L Brands  (LB) - Get Report and Abercrombie & Fitch  (ANF) - Get Report citing recovery hopes.

TheStreet.com's Jim Cramer recently commented on Lululemon  (LULU) - Get Report, another clothing retailer whose prospects appear to be looking up during the recovery. 

For the fiscal first quarter, ended Feb. 28, the company said net revenue fell 13% to $1.3 billion, ahead of analyst estimates of around $1.25 billion. It cited reduced foot traffic and forced closures of stores due to the continuing pandemic, as well as the absence of Black Friday sales in the quarter, which began on Monday Nov. 30. Levi reported adjusted diluted earnings per share of 34 cents.

Levi said global digital net revenues grew 41% year over year, and made up 26% of first-quarter 2021 net revenues, vs. 16% a year earlier.

Shares of Levi Strauss & Co. rose 79 cents, or 3.2%, to  $25.81 in after-hours trading. The stock gained 2.3% in the regular session.