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Tesco await decision in jeans dispute.

A CASE which could result in a flood of cut-price designer goods into the UK was being decided today in the European Court.

Tesco and Levi Strauss have been locked in a long-running dispute over whether the jeans manufacturer can stop the supermarket selling its products.

Levi has a policy of selling its products only through selected outlets, arguing that these are chosen because they offer the best customer service and selection.

Opponents of the system say it allows the company to keep prices artificially high within the UK, especially in comparison with countries outside the EU such at the United States.

Tesco believe they were right to sell jeans, such as the popular 501 brand, at discounted prices and bought from the so-called "grey market" after Levi refused to supply them.

Other stores have begun selling designer goods using the same method - importing genuine goods from outside Europe to avoid trade rules - resulting in cut-price deals on a range of products from clothing to fragrances.

The case against Tesco began in 1998 and centres on when the manufacturer loses the right to decide how its trademarked goods are distributed.

The European Court of Justice was asked to rule on the issue of consent after it was referred by the High Court in England.

Now Tesco says it is preparing to flood British stores with thousands of cut price deals from the grey market if the court rules in its favour.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Nov 20, 2001
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