Levi Strauss launches premium jeans range

Levi Strauss is launching a premium range of jeans called Levi’s Blue in a further attempt to stem the declining popularity of its core Levi’s brand.

The range will be rolled out across Europe this autumn with a recommended retail price of e110 (&£75). It will be aimed at the 15- to 30-year-old “fashion-conscious” market and will sit alongside Levi’s other premium brands, which includes Red and Vintage.

The move comes soon after the launch of Levi’s mass-market Signature range, a discount brand to be sold through supermarkets. It was rolled out across Europe earlier this year.

The jeans manufacturer has meanwhile yet to firm up plans for advertising and marketing of Levi’s Blue. Levi’s European president Kenny Wilson says: “Our focus is primarily on the 501 Anti-Fit range and the advertising surrounding that.”

The ad campaign for 501 Anti-Fit is the first to promote the 501 brand since 1998. Wilson says the campaign, created by Bartle Bogle Hegarty, is a first for Levi’s. The company, which has traditionally opted for epic blockbuster-style television ads without dialogue, has used dialogue for the first time to promote the iconic brand.

Levi Strauss reported a net loss of $349m (&£197m) for 2003, compared to net income (profit) of $7m (&£3.95m) in 2002. Levi’s also suffered a disappointing 2003 in Europe. Total sales declined from $1.93m (&£1.1m) in 2002 to $1.53m (&£867,320) in 2003. It is also considering selling its Dockers brand.

Cover Story, page 2

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