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[0] THE JEAN MEANIES; Supermarket banned from selling pounds 50 Levis for pounds 28.

Byline: NICK SOMMERLAD

IRISH shoppers will no longer be able to buy Levi jeans at discount prices after a landmark court ruling yesterday.

Tesco lost its battle in the European Court of Justice for the right to source the jeans at cheaper rates outside the EU - and then pass the saving to its customers.

Levi Strauss has been battling for three years to stop the supermarket chain from selling its 501 jeans for pounds 27.99 instead of charging pounds 50. But Tesco Ireland vowed to continue stocking cut-price jeans by searching for the best price within the EU.

The landmark court decision will also affect cut-price electrical goods, toiletries, toys and designer brands.

The Consumers Association of Ireland blasted the rulingas bad for shoppers.

Chief Executive Dermott Jewell said: "This decision, which affects a whole range of goods, has not done the consumer any good.

"It just shows that the current trademark laws need to be looked at and to be changed.

"We are paying a considerably higher price than our American counterparts.

"This jeans decision was something of a test case and it is going to be interesting to see if the larger retailers continue to wage war on this system despite running the risk of being taken to court."

A Tesco Ireland spokeswoman said: "Today's verdict is a disappointment for customers. But Tesco will continue to sell products bought in Europe for less."

But Joe Middleton, head of Levi Strauss Europe, said: "We are pleased the court has established that Tesco had been acting illegally by importing our jeans for sale in Europe without our consent."
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 21, 2001
Words:269
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