Levi Strauss Shares Surge 31 Percent in Stock Market Return

Irving Hamilton
March 23, 2019

The New York Stock Exchange relaxed its strict "no jeans" policy yesterday when Levi Strauss floated for £6billion.

Levi Strauss & Co. went public on Thursday with a $6.6 billion valuation.

Levi's first went public in 1971 but remained private for the last 34 years.

Shares in the inventor of the blue jean have been priced at $17 each, just above the target range of $14-16.

Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trading platform IG, said: "The initial public offering (IPO) of Levi's has gone well, with an initial pop on the first day of trading".

Bergh told CNBC that he planned to use some of the proceeds from the offering to enhance the company's e-commerce business, build out its brick-and-mortar presence and in general for "continued investment in building out our omnichannel footprint".

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The stock is listed under the ticker "LEVI" and started trading yesterday at USD17, above an originally expected range of USD14 to USD16. Levi accounted for 5pc of the global jeans market in 2018, according to market research firm Euromonitor.

The IPO comes amid increasing competition and a changing retail landscape. And the brand is also contending with a shrinking number of department stores, once its traditional venue of distribution. Bergh also has created buzz with partnerships with celebrities like Justin Timberlake while increasing Levi's marketing at events like Coachella, where Beyonce performed in the brand's cut-off shorts.

To attract young customers, Levi's is planning to expand its tailor shop and print bar that allow consumers to customise and put their own designs on the company's branded jeans and T-shirts. It also is expanding its retail stores.

The Haas family, descendants of the founder Levi Strauss, have sold shares worth around $357m. Jeans sales appear to be on an upswing in the US, increasing 2.2 per cent to $16.7 billion last year after four straight years of declines, according to data from Euromonitor.

Founder Levi Strauss moved to San Francisco in 1853 during the California gold rush, opening a dry goods business.

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