SAN FRANCISCO — Levi Strauss Associates reported slightly improved earnings in the fourth quarter and year ended Nov. 28. Earnings this year, said the company, will be significantly lower, due primarily to a one-time charge for adopting a new accounting method for post-retirement benefits.

Levi’s also said it anticipates lower unit sales in 1994 because of poor worldwide market conditions.

In the quarter, earnings rose 5 percent to $141.1 million from $134.3 million a year earlier. Operating earnings gained 1 percent, to $215.6 million. Sales rose 2 percent, to $1.59 billion from $1.56 billion.

In the year, earnings excluding a special year-ago charge increased 3.5 percent, to $492.4 million from comparable earnings of $475.8 million. After a pretax nonrecurring stock-option charge of $158 million, earnings in fiscal 1992 were $360.8 million. Operating earnings in 1993 rose 25 percent, to $851.7 million. Sales were up 6 percent, to $5.89 billion from $5.57 billion.

The one-time charge denting 1994 earnings will amount to $400 million pretax, said George James, chief financial officer. It will be minimally offset by an unspecified gain from an income tax accounting change. He added lower unit volume is expected due “generally weak global economic conditions and lackluster consumer spending.”

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