Levi Strauss & Co registered increases in net income for both its fourth quarter and year, but a 4% increase in revenues wasn't sufficient to lift full-year levels above those of 2005.

Still, net income in the three months ended 26 November 2006 more than doubled for the privately held jeans giant, jumping to US$96m from $44m in the prior-year quarter due to higher operating income and, based on a $29m net reversal on valuation allowances, lower tax expense.

Aided by a pickup in gross margin to 48% of sales from 45.6% a year ago, operating income leaped to $170m from $121m.

Revenues in the quarter reached $1.24bn from $1.19bn in last year's quarter.

"Our fourth-quarter performance was encouraging, with net revenue growth in each of our three regions," said John Anderson, who succeeded Phil Marineau as chief executive officer at the start of the new fiscal year.

"For the full year, we delivered stable revenues and strong profits and paid down debt. The year ended with improved performance in virtually all of our business units. I am pleased with our positive momentum heading into 2007."

For the full year, net income rose 53.3% to $239m from $155.9m. Reductions in selling, general and administrative expenses and restructuring charges more than offset a slight decline in gross profit.

However, Levi's wasn't able to reverse its revenue slide for the year, although the decline was slight. Net revenues were off 0.8% to $4.19bn from $4.22bn in 2005. In 2004, revenues were $4.15bn.

By Arnold J Karr.