UK jeans market rocked by sharp decline in sales

UK sales of jeans have slumped by 14.3 per cent in the past year, according to the latest figures from AC Nielsen disclosed to Marketing Week.

Year-on-year unit sales to May 1998 for most major jeans manufacturers have fallen: Levi’s sales have slipped by 7.8 per cent; Lee’s have dropped by 12.9 per cent; and Wrangler’s have plunged by nine per cent.

Falmer has bucked the trend and has seen sales rise by 5.9 per cent over the period. Sales of ladies’ Lee jeans have shot up by 27 per cent. However, this growth has been offset by a 17.3 per cent fall in sales of Lee’s men’s jeans.

Branded jeans manufacturers have been hit by increased demand for designer jeans, such as Tommy Hilfiger, at the same time as a rise in demand for own-label jeans, such as Marks & Spencer.

Sportswear and urban streetwear such as combat trousers have also stolen market share from the jeans sector.

Sterling sales of sports footwear in April/May 1998 have declined by 11.2 per cent compared with the same period in 1997, according to the same Nielsen research.

This can be attributed to a rise in demand for “brown shoes”, which include Timberland and Hush Puppies.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here