FREEPORT – In a welcome bit of positive economic news, L.L. Bean is reporting strong profits for 2012 and bonuses for all its employees.

The company said while revenue grew only half a percentage point, profits showed greater growth thanks to productivity gains. The profit increase resulted in a bonus of 7.5 percent of annual wages for its 5,000 full- and part-time workers. The bonus was approved at a March 8 board meeting.

“We’re pretty pleased to close out the year on a high note,” said Carolyn Beem, public affairs manager for L.L. Bean. “Folks work really hard and this is a welcome payoff.”

Chris McCormick, company president and CEO, said in a statement Friday that 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. We made substantial long-term productivity investments in the business beginning in 2010, from web enhancements to product assortment to free shipping.”

Revenues for the fiscal year ending February totaled $1.52 billion, a gain from the previous year’s total of $1.51 billion.

Areas of sales growth were identified as men’s and women’s apparel, sporting goods and record production of the company’s signature product, the Brunswick-made L.L. Bean hunting shoe.

This year’s bonus payment, up 4.5 percent from the previous year, will be distributed on March 15.

In recent years the 100-year-old, privately held company has aggressively positioned itself as a major player in the digital retail age.

The increase in sales, while modest, will mark the third consecutive year of growth for Bean. The numbers mirror those of pre-recession levels.

The company experienced back-to-back sales declines of 6.6 percent in 2009 and 7.8 percent in 2008.

Bean also continues to open traditional brick-and-mortar stores with at least one opening planned for 2013. Domestically, the company operates some 30 retail and outlet stores sprinkled throughout New England and the mid-Atlantic region.

The entrance to the L.L. Bean flagship store in Freeport. Production of its iconic boot hit record levels and the company is reporting strong profits for 2012 and a bonus for its workers.   

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