Levi’s Straussing Out

Dec 08, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

That was then and this is now.

Levi Strauss used to be the name brand jean everybody was wearing. That time seems far off as the company continues to struggle in its efforts to reclaim the brand magic that
once lifted its annual sales to $7.1 billion, reports Business Week.

Over time, the brand saw its market share eroded from above and below as price-conscious consumers turned to discounters and the fashion-conscious took their business to specialty
shops to purchase jeans.

The mid-price retailers Levi’s had grown with such as Sears and J.C. Penney were losing shoppers and the jean manufacturer’s sales went with them. The company expects
to see bring in about $4 billion in sales this year.

To turn things around, Levi Strauss has acted on several fronts. It has abandoned its middle-price only strategy by rolling out a line of discount jeans under the Levi Strauss
Signature brand while positioning its red tab line in more upscale clothing retailers including Nordstrom.

Moderator’s Comment: What will it take to turn Levi Strauss around?

The most important thing the company needs is time. For quite a while it bucked the trend of the fashion world by steadily growing sales year after year.
The inevitable finally took place, however, as consumers (especially younger ones) decided that it was cooler to wear something other than a pair of Levi’s.

Ultimately, wearing Levi’s will be cool again. The question is when will that be? [George
Anderson – Moderator

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