By Lynette Cockerell
The new Levi Strauss Signature Brand clothing line hit Wal-Mart shelves just as back-to-school shoppers hit the stores this season. Designed for the value-conscious consumer, the innovative line includes jeans sewn from denim manufactured by Plains Cotton Cooperative Association’s (PCCA) Textile Division.
Launched at Wal-Mart stores nationwide July 25, 2003, Levi Strauss Signature Brand was created exclusively for consumers who shop in the mass channel. The brand gives consumers access to high-quality, affordable and fashionable jeanswear from a company and name they trust.
The success of the signature brand is important to PCCA’s Textile Division because it is a major source of denim for the new clothing line. Levi Strauss Signature Brand now places the division’s denim, manufactured from PCCA members’ cotton, on the shelves of Wal-Mart stores throughout the Western Hemisphere.
“Levi Strauss & Co.’s (LS&Co.) entrance into the mass channel was the company’s number one, key objective this year, and they had to have a reliable denim supply chain,” said Hugh King, vice-president of sales for American Cotton Growers (ACG), part of PCCA’s Textile Division. “PCCA fit perfectly into the equation,” he added.
The brand includes a collection of denim and non-denim pants, shirts, skirts and jackets for men, women and children, all designed with the high quality construction and craftsmanship that made LS&Co. famous.
The clothing also is designed with the updated styling expected by today’s mass channel consumers. In homage to LS&Co.’s founder, the new brand, its logo and product packaging leverages the company’s 150-year history. Each garment is designed with LS&Co.’s industry-standard craftsmanship and includes the following product details: reinforced seams, plain back pockets, updated fabrics, innovative finishes previously available only in more premium jeanswear brands, and an easily recognizable “Levi Strauss Signature” waistband patch.
LS&Co. announced its plans for the new brand in October of 2002. The introduction is part of the company’s long term business strategy to market the most appealing and widely worn casual clothing in the world to consumers of all ages and lifestyles. The new brand is designed for 160 million consumers who shop in the mass channel in the United States, a market that accounts for 31 percent of total U.S. jeans sales. The new Levi Strauss Signature Brand jeans are priced from $18 to $24, about 15 percent to 35 percent less than the typical $30 to $35 price for Levi’s most popular, basic jeans known as the Red Tab line.
Early sales results show an excellent reaction by consumers in the women’s division. The initial reception has been so positive that Wal-Mart now plans to begin advertising the signature clothing line to generate additional sales.
“The marketing ability both Wal-Mart and LS&Co. have is incredible,” King explained. “With the marketing support of the two powerful companies, the Levi Signature Brand should be very successful.”
“Levi’s decision to go into the value channel really helped us in October, November and December of 2002 as they began building inventories to deliver to Wal-Mart,” said Darryl Lindsey, PCCA’s vice-president of operations. “It’s a big chunk of our business and has generated demand for several of our basic denim styles,” he added.
In addition to producing basic styles, the Textile Division had to become more innovative and creative to satisfy the demands of LS&Co. and to fit the new look of the Levi Strauss Signature Brand line.
“The opportunity LS&Co. has given us with this new line has triggered an increase in our core capabilities.” King said. “In fact, the Levi Strauss Signature Brand has resulted in over a dozen new styles now being supplied to LS&Co.”
“The key to the division’s success is its impeccable and individualized service to each of its customers,” King added. “PCCA plans to provide unbeatable service to them through product innovation and an increased responsiveness to each company’s specific needs to help ensure our outstanding working relationships will continue for many years to come.”