Levi Strauss & Co. apparently favors Target as a retail partner. The iconic denim brand is expanding sales of its premium red tab jeans and other apparel items to 300 more Target stores, according to a Target blog post.
More than 60 new styles will come to Target for more than 180 total across men's and women's, the companies said in an email. Assortments will vary by store, with some items and extended sizes available only online, per Target's post.
Target, which previously sold only Levi's budget Denizen label, began selling the red tab line in 2019 in just 50 stores, expanding to 500 the following year. Since introducing the red tab items, Target has sold more than a million pairs of Levi's jeans, per the companies' email.
More brands are selling their wares directly to their customers and at the same time have become much more selective about their wholesale operations.
Levi's in particular has steadily pulled away from wholesale, so that by 2019 it had declined to 30% of the business, down from about half of the business eight years before. Meanwhile, by the end of fiscal year 2020, DTC approached nearly 40% of Levi's business, from 20% in 2011, according to a filing with the SEC.
But recent research shows that wholesale remains an important channel for sales volume and scale. The key is finding the right balance, according to Sanjeev Mohanty, managing director of U.S. and Canada at Levi Strauss & Co.
"Successful brands will have the right channel mix that makes sense for the brand and their consumer," Mohanty said by email last month. "For us at Levi's, we know where we need to be, and we're excited about the future ahead as we not only deepen our DTC strategy but continue to build and leverage our robust network of wholesale partners."
Target has clearly made the cut at Levi's. In addition to the expansion of red tab sales at the mass merchant, the two last year released a limited edition lifestyle collection that included home, pet, accessories and apparel products.