March 8, 2013

L.L. Bean to give workers a 7.5 percent bonus

Online shopping and free shipping helped to fuel growth.

By Jessica Hall jhall@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

FREEPORT -- L.L. Bean, which saw profits jump to pre-recession levels in the past year despite a modest gain in revenues, will reward its 5,000 full- and part-time employees with a 7.5 percent bonus.

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Shoppers walk past the iconic L.L. Bean boot outside the L.L. Bean retail store on Friday in Freeport.

The Associated Press

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Chris McCormick, president and CEO of L.L. Bean, says the retailer would've seen even stronger performance for 2013 if the president and Congress would reach an agreement on the economy.

The Associated Press

L.L. Bean, which celebrated its 100th anniversary last year, is a privately held company that does not disclose profits. The company reported that revenues for the fiscal year ended Feb. 23 totaled $1.52 billion, up from $1.51 billion the year before.

Based on the improved performance, the company will pay a one-time bonus of 7.5 percent of each employee's annual salary.

Last year, Bean's workers got a 3 percent bonus.

"L.L. Bean has performed very well in a continuing volatile retail environment -- with economic uncertainty, political distractions and shaky consumer confidence. We ended the year with a modest gain in net sales over the prior year, but significant improvement in productivity," said Chris McCormick, president and CEO, in a statement on Friday.

The company said the improvements were driven by the growth in several key areas: Men's and women's apparel and sporting goods had their best sales in company history, and the company also saw strong gains in the hunting and fishing category.

The company said production of its iconic, Maine-made L.L. Bean boot continued at an all-time high.

The Freeport-based company said it has benefited from several key initiatives started in 2010, such as improvements in its web operations and changes ranging from its product assortment to free shipping.

"Our investments in the website have doubled starting in 2010, as our sales continue to shift to online and mobile. The free shipping that we implemented in 2011, while a risk, has been well received by our customers and is paying off," McCormick said in the statement.

In addition to investing in its online operations, the company continued to expand its brick-and-mortar stores. It built a new store in Danbury, Conn. and an outlet in North Hampton, N.H.

Internationally, it added a new store in Japan and five new stores in China.

Staff Writer Jessica Hall can be contacted at 791-6316 or at:

jhall@pressherald.com

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