NEW YORK — Speculation about what’s ahead for Levi Strauss & Co., for years one of the jeans industry’s favorite pastimes, is reaching a fever pitch.

A month has passed since the San Francisco company hired turnaround expert Alvarez & Marsal to help develop a plan of how to end a prolonged sales slump and improve profitability. Levi’s officials have emphasized that the hiring of that firm does not in this case presage a bankruptcy filing — and financial sources agreed that such a move currently appears unnecessary.

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