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High-End Jeans Take A Battering As Old Standbys Thrive

Basic Levi's, Lee and Wrangler jeans are faring well in this hardscrabble economy -- sales are up 17%, according to NPD -- but high-end jeans are feeling pinched around the waistline, Jayne O'Donnell and Michelle Walbaum report.

True Religion, which sells jeans that top out at $398, says its wholesale sales were down 17% in the first quarter, and sales at its stand-alone stores were down about 10%. Citizens of Humanity COO Gary Freedman admits that business is down without releasing numbers.

High-end makers are dropping their prices in turn with the trend. About 95% of 7 for All Mankind jeans now cost less than $200, up from 70% a year ago. And Gap next month will introduce a $60 line of jeans designed in part by exiles from companies including Joe's and Earl. "Our goal is to build jeans every bit as good as any premium player," says Gap spokeswoman Louise Callagy.



Read the whole story at USA Today »

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