Is Target and Levi’s expanding partnership a win-win? – RetailWire

March 29, 2022

Target plans for develop the availability of its selection of premium Levi’s Red Tab jeans in 500 to 800 stores this spring in a bid to amplify its “favorite denim destination status.”

The retailer’s relationship with Levi’s began in 2011 with the introduction of Denizen jeans, now available in nearly 1,500 of its 2,000 stores. In 2019, Target introduced Levi’s Red Tab 501, 505 and 511 styles in 50 stores near college campuses and urban centers and expanded seasonally to reach 500 last fall.I. Prices on the red tab range from $59.99 to $69.99.

The latest expansion brings Target’s Levi’s offering to more than 180 pieces, including tops, dresses, jeans and jackets.

In his fourth trimester analyst call in early March, Christina Hennington, Target’s executive vice president and chief growth officer, said the discounter’s expansion Levi’s partnership, along with the recent introduction of private labels Universal Thread and Goodfellow, “take us from a retailer that sold denim to a denim destination, having increased sales in this category by more than $150 million since 2019.”

Target also counts its frequent designer collaborations as well as in-store Disney, Apple and Ulta Beauty stores as major traffic drivers.

For Levi’s, the move continues the shift from its department store roots. Low-priced Levi’s jeans first arrived at Walmart in 2002. Levi’s also aims to expand direct-to-consumer to 60% of revenue by 2030, up from nearly 40% in 2020 and 20% in 2011.

Many other stores also claim to be denim destinations, including Kohl’s, American Eagle, Guess and Madewell over the past year.

The jeans category has made a comeback during the pandemic. In his fourth trimester conference call in January, Levi’s CEO Chip Bergh said the category benefited from the continuous acceleration of the trend towards casualization, expand waist sizes amid the pandemic that has resulted in wardrobe updates and a new cycle of denim led by looser, looser cuts.

Said Mr. Bergh, “The last big cycle was skinny jeans, which is for women, and the new denim cycle is driving clothing a lot, it’s driving shoes, it’s also driving tops. So I’m optimistic for that reason.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Would earning a reputation as the go-to place for denim be a huge competitive win for Target? Is Levi’s losing brand equity with its continued expansion into Target and other discounters?


“Denim is an American mainstay and will definitely add another reason to shop at destination.”

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