Levi Strauss CEO expects strong holiday sales as Americans unleash pent-up demand

Levi Strauss & Co. CEO Chip Bergh told CNBC’s Jim Cramer he’s anticipating robust holiday sales this year as Americans spend some of the money they built up during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The home balance sheet has probably not been stronger than this in a real long time,” Bergh said in an interview that aired Friday on “Mad Money.” “We’re expecting a really strong holiday season, and it’s all being fueled by a super-strong consumer right now.”

Bergh’s comments come during a busy week of retail earnings reports, highlighted by Walmart, Macy’s, and Kohl’s. Investors are looking for insights into whether consumer demand is resilient to price increases that some retailers are implementing to offset inflationary pressures.

Bergh noted that on Kohl’s earnings call, CEO Michelle Gass listed Levi Strauss as one private brand sold at its stores that was seeing strong sales. Bergh said the denim maker continues to benefit from new denim trends and individuals’ need to upgrade parts of their wardrobe.

“About 40% of Americans have changed their waist size. Some up, some down, but that drives you to have to go out and update your wardrobe. That, combined with the new denim silhouette, which is really driving a new denim cycle, is really the tailwind behind our business right now,” he said.

Levi’s most recent quarterly results were released in early October, with the San Francisco-based company topping Wall Street estimates on the top and bottom lines. Shares of Levi Strauss are up 38% year to date.