Wrangler clash forces Lee to switch to younger market

Lee is to expand its product range into five clothing lines with a greater fashion influence, in an attempt to reposition the brand for a younger market.

The overhaul of the VF Corporation-owned brand follows a general slump in sales of traditional denim and a recognition that Lee was chasing too many of its sister brand, Wrangler’s, potential consumers. Lee is also preparing to launch its first dedicated children’s range, called Pipes.

Lee has split its existing range into six lines – Originals, Core, Ms Lee, Leesures, Workwear and Youth. Originals features the classic Lee jeans, Core includes variants on the five-pocket western jean style, polo shirts and fleeces. Ms Lee is a retro-style young women’s brand; Workwear includes carpenter pants and jackets, and Leesures is a range of khakis.

The youth range, Pipes, will appear in stores from July. It is aimed at eight- to 14-year-olds and will include jeans, khakis and tops.

Tim Henshall, marketing controller of VF Jeanswear, says: “Wrangler and Lee were competing for similar consumers so we have moved Lee to take on a younger market.”

A new 2m poster advertising campaign through Fallon McElligott breaks at the end of the month and will run for three months.

The 14.3 per cent decline in UK jeans sales last year (MW July 17) came at a time of major strategy and senior marketing changes at Levi’s, Lee, Easy, Falmer and Lee Cooper.

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