NEW YORK – Strong sales in the U.S. helped buoy Levi Strauss & Co. in the second quarter as double-digit declines continued in Europe.

The San Francisco-based denim giant reported a 50 percent earnings gain to $40.2 million for the three months ended May 28. Comparitively, the company reported earnings of $26.8 million in the same period a year ago. The gains were driven by a one time income tax benefit stemming from a change it made in the ownership of some of its foreign subsidiaries.

U.S. sales of the core Levi’s brand and Dockers prevented the continued downturn in Europe from weighing too heavily on results. Revenues for the quarter fell 0.9 percent to $953 million from $961.6 million. Sales fell 0.7 percent to $936.7 million from $943.7 million.

The company’s European business has languished since 2005 owing in large part to a difficult retail environment. Phil Marineau, president and chief executive officer, has been overseeing the segment since February. European sales slid 17 percent during the quarter to $196.5 million from $237 million.

For the first half of the year revenues fell 3.4 percent to $1.91 billion from $1.98 billion. Sales declined $1.88 billion from $1.95 billion.

For complete coverage, see tomorrow’s issue of WWD.

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