When Chip Bergh joined Levi’s as CEO in September 2011, the American clothing company was in a slump. “In ’96, we were bigger than Nike,” he says, “and then from ’96 to 2001, [we] went from $7.1 billion dollars in sales to $4.1 billion in sales. They lost almost half of the business.”
For years, Levi’s was unable to climb out of the hole it had sunk into. Young shoppers were fleeing to other denim brands, such as newer up-market labels like 7 for All Mankind.Shoppers still recognized Levi’s as an American icon, especially those outside the US.But the company behind it was in disarray.
By Marc Bain