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Levi’s Bets on Premium Positioning

Levi Strauss & Co. may have built its brands with bottoms, but CEO John Anderson is aiming to leverage that heritage into complete lifestyle collections.

NEW YORK — Levi Strauss & Co. may have built its brands with bottoms—the company is synonymous with 501 jeans and Dockers khakis—but CEO and president John Anderson is aiming to leverage that heritage into complete lifestyle collections that garner a much larger percentage of sales from tops, accessories, footwear, outerwear and other categories. The strategy is aimed at jump-starting the company’s $4.27 billion in sales—which have been basically flat since 2003—and diversifying the company beyond its iconic bottoms businesses, which currently account for about 87 percent of total sales. 

“I think the mix should be 50/50,” said Anderson in an interview last week in Levi Strauss’s New York showroom. “The real opportunity for us is in tops and other categories—we need to drive those businesses even harder. In our own stores we’ve already hit that ratio. We need the opportunity to put those tops in front of more consumers.”