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Cut-price Levi's from USA were made here.

CUT-PRICE designer jeans imported to Scotland from the United States by a supermarket chain are made in this country, it was revealed last night.

Levi 501s, sold for pounds 15 less than the normal price of pounds 45 by Tesco, have made a 13,000 mile round trip to the stores after being made in a Glasgow factory.

Tesco has re-imported the 501s for three years in an effort to offer shoppers cheaper alternatives to the designer shops.

The move is one of a number of controversial attempts by supermarket chains to use their vast customer base to undercut the cost of designer companies.

The practice, however, has run into problems as designer labels battle to keep the cost of their luxury goods high.

Levi Strauss recently won a European Court ban on Tesco selling the jeans after the court ruled goods can only be sold in the continent they were originally bound for.

But the chain has refused to take the jeans off the shelves and has taken its case to appeal.

Tesco's marketing manager for Scotland, Shaun Edgeley, said: "Like our customers, we're furious that a multi-national company such as Levi wants to prevent our Scottish customers buying jeans made here in Scotland. We won't stand by and let this happen."

Tesco estimates it has saved customers more than pounds 28m through selling "grey" imports - products bought abroad to cut costs.

The Consumer Association backed Tesco's stance, saying designer firms were blocking fair trading.

Spokeswoman Helen Parker said: "Manufacturers are using the ban by the European Court to try to stifle competition, limit consumer choice and keep prices high."

But a spokesman for Levi insisted the law was on their side and they would win in the end.

He said: "Levi Strauss is confident that the rights of trademark owners will be upheld when this referral is heard."
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Evans, Dan
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 4, 2000
Words:310
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