Historic Lee Jeans to leave Kansas City, go public

Lee Jeans announced Monday that it will leave Kansas City for North Carolina as part of a reorganization and split of its parent company, VF Corp.

The move is part of the company’s plans to spin off its denim business — Lee and Wrangler — into an independent public company in order to focus on more profitable brands such as Vans shoes and The North Face, the company said. It also remains unclear what will happen to the 130 jobs based at the Merriam location, a company spokesperson said.

Lee Jeans, headquartered in Merriam, will move to Greensboro, North Carolina, to join Wrangler. Wrangler, in turn, will move its headquarters from Greensboro to the Denver area, and will house brands including The North Face, JanSport and Smartwool, the company said.

Revenue from Vans shoes has driven much of the company’s Greensboro growth in recent years. Adversely, VF jeans sales have underperformed due, in part, to large retailers like Walmart stepping into the market.

Annual sales of VF jeans fell 1 percent in the company’s latest reporting period. VF Corp. has a market value of about $38 billion.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Kansas City Star


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