L.L. Bean confirms commitment to bricks-and-mortar stores with North American expansion
Following its strongest fiscal year in nearly a decade, international retail chain L.L.Bean has announced that it will open seven new retail stores across the US and Canada in 2021.
The move is an important milestone in the company’s omni-channel growth plan, representing continued investment in its direct-to-consumer, bricks-and-mortar model. In 2020 L.L.Bean made significant strides in channel diversity via its first-ever US wholesale partnerships, large-scale design collaborations, e-commerce investments and a growing footprint in Canada, ensuring it is accessible to more customers through new channels and locations.
The 108-year-old outdoor retailer, which also has stores in the UK, will open three new outlets in the US by the end of 2021, with openings beginning as early as next month. The first new retail location is set to open in Salem, NH on May 14th and will be followed by locations in Millbury, Mass. and Amherst, New York.
“While 2020 posed many challenges to our business, including the temporary closure of all retail stores, we are committed to increasing our bricks-and-mortar presence in order to serve more communities,” said L.L. Bean President and CEO Stephen Smith. “We know that a record number of people reconnected with the outdoors amidst the pandemic, some for the first time, and we see these new habits remaining firmly in place going forward.”
The company has seen continued success in Canada since entering the market in 2018 with the launch of its Canadian e-commerce site, which was shortly followed by the opening of its first Canadian retail store in Oakville, Ont. in 2019. In 2020, alongside Jaytex Group, the heritage outdoor brand, it opened three additional stores in Barrie, Ottawa and Toronto, Ontario, and will continue this momentum with four new store openings across three provinces by the end of 2021.
The new locations are due to open this fall in Victoria and Burnaby in British Columbia, Dartmouth in Nova Scotia and Calgary in Alberta, and come in response to L.L. Bean’s growing customer base – which saw 100% growth in 2020 – and continued customer interest in a larger physical retail presence across Canada.
“Despite the hurdles that the pandemic presented, in 2020 we successfully opened three new retail locations in Ontario and saw strong overall performance in the Canadian market,” said Howie Kastner, President of Jaytex Group. “This continued success speaks to the inherent love of the outdoors and eagerness for new adventures that Canadian customers share with the brand. We look forward to continuing to explore opportunities across Canada and support this growing customer base.”
In addition to new store openings, L.L. Bean’s flagship store and Hunt & Fish location in Freeport, Maine will return to a 24-hour schedule on May 3rd. Known for around-the-clock service, they both temporarily closed as a result of the pandemic and re-opened with limited hours in May 2020.
Shawn Gorman, Executive Chairman of L.L. Bean, said: “My great-grandfather opened our flagship store more than 100 years ago and, in 1951, he implemented our signature 24-hour operating model as a way to accommodate sportsmen and women who would drive through Freeport in the middle of the night to ensure an early start the next morning.
“Returning to 24-hour service, extending hours and opening new stores all mark milestones for our organisation and communities as we look towards a post-pandemic era and see a continued interest in the outdoors.”