Levi’s CEO says our lockdown weight fluctuations are driving sales for the brand

Levi's jeans
Lockdown-induced weight fluctuations after more than a year of working from home have driven sales for Levi’s.

  • Levi’s CEO said in a recent interview that the company is seeing a “resurgence” in denim.
  • People whose weight has fluctuated during the lockdown are boosting sales by shopping for new sizes.
  • Jefferies analysts said weight changes and shopping for new sizes could benefit other retailers.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Lockdown-driven weight fluctuations among shoppers are helping to boost sales at Levi’s, according to its CEO.

In an interview with The Associated Press, CEO Chip Bergh said that the company is seeing a “resurgence in denim” as we emerge from a loungewear-heavy lockdown, boosted by people shopping for new sizes.

“The number of people who are in a new size is pretty staggering,” he said, adding: “More than 25% of consumers have a new size today.

“Some people gained weight during the pandemic, and many people lost weight. But both on the men’s side of the business and women’s side,” he said.

A recent Jefferies note to clients explored the idea that customers gaining or losing weight could benefit retailers.

Citing Google search data, Jefferies analysts said that there had been a “surging interest” in searches related to “COVID weight gain” as the pandemic has dragged on over the past year. A survey conducted by The Harris Poll for the American Psychological Association in February found that 42% of adults surveyed had put on an average of 29 pounds since the start of the pandemic, these analysts noted.

“Changing sizes = time for a wardrobe refresh,” the note said.

Pandemic-driven weight gain has been a big topic over the past year as consumers reported drinking more alcohol and eating more because of the stress of the time – all the while being unable to hit the gym to burn it off.

Because of this, clothing stores can expect to see an uptick in sales, Jefferies analysts said.

Read more: I was a 35-year-old global head of communications who landed in the hospital from extreme stress and burnout. It was the push I needed to finally leave agency life and put my wellness first.

Bergh said that while denim is making a comeback, casual styles continued to prevail.

“This new looser fit that we led early on in the pandemic is definitely taking hold,” he said.

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