Clothing chain Designs Inc is to axe up to 40 stores that sell Levi's and Dockers apparel amid falling sales and Levi Strauss & Co's 2 "consistent inability to provide a balanced assortment of product", it announced on Wednesday.

The Massachusetts-based company said its Levi's/Dockers business suffered a 15 per cent drop in second quarter same-store sales and it plans to focus on fashions for large men and will rename itself casual Male Retail Group Inc.

Dennis Hernreich, SVP and CFO of the 470 store Casual Male Big & Tall chain, said its decision to close the stores came after it "re-evaluated the performance of this business, due to the continued erosion of the Levi's brand in the marketplace and Levi Strauss & Co's consistent inability to provide a balanced assortment of product".

Designs said it expects a second quarter pre-tax charge of $11-$12 million and said in the period to August 4 it made $715,000, or five cents a share, on sales of $47.7m.