Jeans giant Levi Strauss & Co on Thursday formally axed the first of its six US manufacturing plants earmarked for closure as part of a major restructuring exercise that will see it switch manufacturing operations abroad. After 43 years, its sewing plant in Blue Ridge, Georgia, shut the doors behind its 400 workers for the last time yesterday, while its landmark factory in San Francisco also closed with the loss of dozens of jobs after 96 years.