Jeans wear giant Levi Strauss & Co on Thursday said it is optimistic that fiscal 2004 sales will be at a similar level to last year's, ending seven straight annual sales declines.

The San Francisco based firm has seen sales drop from $5.1bn in 1999 to $4.1 billion in 2003.

In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Levi said 2004 sales for the year ended 28 November, are expected to fall from last year on a constant-currency basis, discounting fluctuations in the value of the dollar.

The company, which has a total debt of around $2.3 billion, in October shelved plans to sell its Dockers clothing brand because potential bidders did not meet the company's asking price.

"We are focused on stabilizing our Dockers men's sales and revamping our women's business," Levi's said in its regulatory filing. "We took steps to revitalise our Dockers brand worldwide, including making changes in our European business intended to improve financial performance."

Levi also said yesterday that it has signed a deal to sell $450m of 9 3/4 per cent Senior Notes due 2015 in a private placement conducted pursuant to Rule 144A and Regulation S under the Securities Act of 1933.

The company plans to use the gross proceeds of the offering to purchase pursuant to a tender offer all $450m outstanding principal amount of the company's 7.00 per cent notes due November 1, 2006.

If not all of the 2006 notes are tendered, the company intends to use any remaining proceeds from the offering to repay outstanding debt (which may include any remaining 2006 notes), or for the payment of premiums, fees and expenses.

The company plans to report complete fiscal 2004 financial results in mid-February.