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    Levi Strauss Taps European Supermarkets for New Line

    LONDON - After a lengthy legal battle to keep its designer goods off the supermarket shelves, jeans maker Levi Strauss has announced plans to break into the mass market, The Independent reports.

    LONDON - After a lengthy legal battle to keep its designer goods off the supermarket shelves, jeans maker Levi Strauss has announced plans to break into the mass market, The Independent reports.

    Last week the company said it was talking to outlets about selling a new Signature line of adult clothing, including jeans for about GBP 25 a pair ($39.77), at least GBP 20 cheaper than its 501 range. Wal-Mart is already slated to sell the Signature clothes in its U.S. stores beginning this summer.

    Levi Strauss said it will extend the line to France, Germany and Britain starting early next year to tap into the growing demand for good-quality discount clothing that has been led by supermarkets.

    Potential partners include Asda and Tesco, which in November 2001 lost a battle against the jeans manufacturer. The European Court of Justice ordered Tesco to stop selling 501s, which were retailing for about GBP 30. The judges said the EU Trademark Directive gave the brand owner the power of veto over sales of goods sourced outside Europe.

    Several British supermarkets, including Asda and Safeway, defied brand owners by stocking designer goods. Tesco said it had had preliminary talks with its former adversary on stocking the range. Asda, whose parent company is Wal-Mart, is also understood to have held early talks. A Levi Strauss spokesman said: "We are talking to high-volume, low-price outlets, including supermarkets."

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