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Levi Strauss cuts reliance on wholesalers

Levi Strauss is cutting its reliance on wholesalers and refocusing on women’s clothing. Now the women’s business is one of the company’s biggest growth engines. Levi Strauss was the first brand to ever sell women’s jeans. One problem that had to be reversed was a focus on sales of women’s jeans exclusively when shopping data showed that five tops are sold for every bottom. The turnaround led to a successful initial public offering earlier this year.

Less than 20 per cent of Levi’s supply is sourced from China (Southeast Asia and Mexico are big suppliers) while the amount coming into the US market is less than two per cent of its business. But China represents three per cent of the apparel company’s total business.

Levi Strauss is known for its brands Levi’s, Dockers, Signature by Levi Strauss and Denizen. It is implementing a strategy aimed at significantly reducing overall water use. Its suppliers are already engaged–and deeply invested–in the effort to reduce water use. In water-stressed regions, suppliers have begun to install water-efficient machinery and recycle water. The company will help its suppliers identify worthwhile investments in water projects and, in doing so, help them be successful over the long term.