Levi Strauss & Co reported a 4% drop in third-quarter profit on Tuesday, as the denim apparel maker struggled to grow its wholesale business in the Americas, where it generates most of its revenue. Reduced shipments to off-price stores and the impact of delayed acquisition of a South American distributor drove net revenue down about 3% in the region, the first fall since the 165-year-old company went public in March.
Levi Strauss will be worth about US$ 6.5bn when the denim-maker rejoins the stock market after 34 years away. Shares in the inventor of the blue jean have been priced at US$ 17 each, just above the target range of US$ 14-16.
Levi Strauss is ramping up its use of lasers to automate the way its jeans are made. The firm says the new techniques will reduce chemical use and make the way in which jeans are faded, distressed and ripped more efficient. By replacing manual labor with lasers, Levi's will be able to finish a pair of jeans every 90 seconds, instead of just two to three pairs an hour.