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Levi's shifts focus to retail

Levi’s will focus on retail and ramp up its European store opening programme this year.

Levi’s, which relaunched its Regent Street flagship this week, said retail would present a stronger route to growth than wholesale over the coming months.

Levi’s plans to double capital expenditure to $166m (£109m) in 2010.

Armin Broger, president of Levi Strauss & Co Europe, Middle East and North Africa, told Reuters: “It [retail] is becoming an increasingly important component of our business. In Europe in particular I think we’re looking to build retail as a driver of growth.”

He added: “Where we do, like we are doing here in London, a pretty energising job to our retail business, we see wholesale benefit as well.”

Levi’s said that if the London store proved successful, further flagships would be opened in other key cities internationally, such as Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, New York, Paris, Milan and Moscow.

Broger said: “This one in London is the largest project to date, it is also the most intense project to date. We are looking at testing and learning everything we possibly can, to then look at opportunities to apply the learnings elsewhere.”

In its latest results, Levi’s reported a net revenue decline of 7% to $4.1bn (£2.7bn) for the year to November 29, 2009, with net income down 34% to $152m (£99.8m).

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