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Levi's opens most stores in China

Levi Strauss & Co hased open majority stores in China, where the COVID-19 outbreak first emerged in December, with sales recovering on a weekly basis and digital sales rising last month. The company has also reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue for the first quarter ended February 23, even as sales in Asia declined due to store closures, sending Levi's shares up about 3 per cent.

Like many US retailers, Levi's has been hit by the COVID-19 crisis as lockdowns in China and the United States to curb the spread of the infection forced store closures. Levi's has stood through the world wars and the 1918 flu pandemic in its 167-year history.

The retailer has been investing more in its e-commerce business, adding features designed to attract young shoppers, to cope with decline in foot traffic to malls and department stores due to a shift in shopping preferences.

Levi’s now plans to furlough all its retail store staff in the country, a step taken by many retailers as they extend store closures. The company had about 7,300 US employees as of Nov. 24, according to its annual filing. It had borrowed $300 million on a credit facility to boost its balance sheet.