Levi Strauss is creating a new brand of jeans designed specifically for discount retailers, to which end it has already signed a pact with Wal-Mart.

Slated for launch in July 2003, the new Levi Strauss Signature range will join the flagship Levi’s brand and Dockers in the group’s product portfolio. Having agreed to supply the new line to Wal-Mart, Levi is now in distribution talks with other retailers.

The jeans giant has hitherto rejected budget stores as a sales outlet, taking UK retailer Tesco to court for selling cut-price Levi-branded clothes acquired through the so-called ‘grey’ market.

However, the launch of Signature is recognition of the discount sector’s growing strength.

“You can have the best product in the world, and the best value, but you need to sell where people shop,” declared Levi ceo Phil Marineau. “There are plenty of people buying jeans in the mass channel and we want to sell them a brand with the quality of Levi Strauss.”

According to Marineau, the brand may also be exported to similar outlets in Europe – including Tesco.

The Signature range will include denim and non-denim shirts and trousers, differentiated from standard Levi’s fare using a different logo based around the autograph of the company’s founder.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff