Renowned blue jeans manufacturer and clothing retail giant Levi Strauss & Co. (LEVI 1.31%) reported several strongly positive metrics today as part of its first quarter 2020 earnings report, despite the threadbare performance of the U.S. economy overall as it gets walloped by COVID-19. While the coronavirus pandemic's effects are visible in the reported figures, Levi Strauss still beat analyst estimates in several key areas.
Wall Street analysts expected the company to deliver adjusted earnings per share of $0.35. Instead, Levi Strauss generated $0.40 EPS, beating expectations by nearly 14.3%. In a similar vein, analysts forecast the retailer's net revenues for the quarter at $1.47 billion, but in fact revenues topped this prediction by 2.72%, coming in at $1.51 billion.
Levi Strauss' reported net revenues are also up close to 4.9% year over year from first quarter 2019, or 6% in constant currency, compared to last year's $1.44 billion. The company estimates the ongoing political struggle in Hong Kong between protesters and the mainland Chinese government, plus the problems caused by COVID-19, shaved roughly two percentage points off this figure, which otherwise would have been around 7%.
The company ended the quarter with $900 million in cash and $1.8 billion in total liquidity, enough to pay a second quarter per-share dividend of $0.08, rather than suspending dividend payments as many other companies have been forced to do. Operating income fell 11% year over year.
CEO Chip Bergh remarked, "Our first quarter results underscore the strength of the Levi's brand and the efficacy of our strategies." Levi Strauss share value fell in March, but has gained close to 10% today on the EPS and revenue beat.