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Set to launch this summer, iconic denim experts Levi’s have created a new brand aimed at the Chinese market. The initial plan is to expand the number of stores in China from 20 to a whopping 1,000 by 2015. It is rumoured that pricing will fall slightly under that which one would expect from Levi’s, with jeans retailing at around $50. For more info check this article from WWD:
Classic Americana purveyor Levi Strauss & Co. is heralding the arrival of the young mainstream Chinese consumer by launching a new brand this summer in China — its first unveiled on foreign soil.
Befitting the new label’s vast home turf, the San Francisco-based denim company has ambitious plans to grow the line’s store base in China to 1,000 by 2015 from 20 this year. Levi Strauss wouldn’t disclose the name of the brand, which is likely to be priced slightly below traditional Levi’s and is being called Standard internally, but revealed it would be in English and make its Levi’s pedigree apparent.
“Although we are focused on China, our hope is that this brand will become one of our big brands,” said Tod Gimbel, senior director of corporate affairs at Levi Strauss’ Asia-Pacific division.
The denim giant joins Hermès International in the push to develop a brand for China. The luxury firm has taken a majority stake in Shanghai-based Shang Xia, which is creating, manufacturing and will sell a collection of clothing, accessories, furniture and other lifestyle products using Chinese raw materials and artisanal know-how. The first Shang Xia store is to open this year in Shanghai.
Levi Strauss’ goal is to develop the new brand’s store base with an even balance of franchised units and company-owned units. The stores are expected to average about 1,000 square feet, which is similar in size to existing Levi’s stores in China. Shop-in-shops within department stores will showcase the brand, as well.
Like Levi’s other stores in China, the new brand’s shops will offer a “top-to-bottom experience,” Gimbel said, with an array of merchandise for men and women. The denim will feature Levi’s signature five-pocket design, but will have a “distinct style and flair,” he said. “There will still be that Levi Strauss & Co. authentic denim craftsmanship, but it will have its unique identity.”
Levi Strauss has been among the most successful American apparel brands in China, though it had a rocky beginning in the country. In 1993, the company halted manufacturing in China because of human rights concerns. Production resumed five years later and Levi’s stores launched about 10 years ago. Now, Levi’s has 620 branded retail locations in mainland China and boasts a considerable presence in the nation’s major bustling retail districts.