By Tova Cohen
TEL AVIV, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Levi Strauss & Co is raisingprices on some products to cover rising costs despitechallenging conditions in major markets, the San Francisco-basedjeans maker's chief executive told Reuters on Monday.
Although recovering markets are still fragile, clothingmakers in the United States have been squeezed by higher costsfor raw materials such as cotton as well as for labour andfreight.
"We already have increased some prices selectively forspring," CEO John Anderson said on his first visit to Israel."We have definitely felt the pressure of those costs."
Asked whether clothing prices would rise for the Christmasshopping season, he said: "We don't set prices in the marketplace, we are anxiously awaiting Christmas."
Anderson was in Israel, one of its 110 national markets, tolaunch a women's line that focuses on shapes instead of sizes.
"This is the biggest revolution in the women's jean industrysince stretched denim was introduced...The early reaction isextremely positive," he said.
Anderson said the company's goal is for women's denim toreach 40 percent of Levi's adult sales within 18 months to twoyears, from 30 percent now.
During the relase of the company's second-quarter financialresults in July, Anderson said consumers in mature markets suchas the United States, Europe and Japan were under pressure andwould likely remain so through the end of the year.
"I think it is still challenging but our performance in theU.S. is strong," Anderson said. "But the general economicclimate will remain challenging in all three markets."
Its second-quarter revenue rose 8 percent to $976.5 millionand its net loss widened to $14.4 million, hurt by high-yielddebt refinancing.
Revenue was up 8 percent in the Americas region, whichaccounts for nearly 60 percent of all sales, and rose 8 percentin Asia and 9 percent in Europe.
Anderson said Levi's business is growing in Israel, where itis the No. 1 jeans brand, with sales doubling in the past fouryears.
"We feel very confident in the Israeli consumer. I think they are very fashion-aware, very brand conscious," he said.
Although many factories in China shut down as demand droppedduring the recession, Anderson said Levi Strauss is not asreliant on China as other clothing companies since it alsoproduces in Mexico, Pakistan, Poland and Turkey.
"We are not facing problems in those places," he said.
Levi Strauss, which is privately held, reports quarterlyresults because its debt is publicly held. (Editing by Michael Shields)