Asda will be the first UK retailer to stock the new Levi Strauss value brand of jeans.

The Signature brand is due to launch in Asda in February with mens’ jeans appearing in 80 stores and womens’ in 20 stores.

The brand made its world debut in the US in July, in Wal-Mart, and will also be introduced in Wal-Mart Germany. Matthew Mycock, Levi Strauss country MD UK and Ireland, said the move would take the Levi’s heritage into the mass channel for the first time.

However he emphasised that Signature was a separate brand designed for a separate group of customers that the company did not reach
through its current channels.

He said: “Asda is a serious clothes retailer. For them it is about widening out from George. For us it is accessing new customers.

“This fits in with our need to sell where consumers shop. Some people don’t get the opportunity with our current distribution.”

The new brand is expected to retail for about £25-30 compared with £35+ for Levi’s.

Levi Strauss has had an uneasy relationship with the major multiples in the past, fighting and winning a long running legal battle with Tesco over its sourcing of grey market Levi’s on the grey market.

Mycock said part of the agreement with Asda was that it would not be stocking the Levi’s brand.

He also said negotiations were at an advanced stage for a second major multiple to stock Signature.
John Wood