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US retail giant L.L. Bean joins the list of 2021 success stories


Smart forecasting and a strong inventory helped L.L. Bean take advantage of the surge in participation and ride out the worst of the supply chain issues that have dogged the industry.

The US-based global retailer and outdoor recreational equipment supplier, has reported one of its best financial performances in its 110-year history and highlighted its efforts to ensure sustainable business practices. The Freeport, Maine company, which has stores and offices in the US, Canada, Costa Rica, Japan and Hong Kong, saw revenue increase 14% to $1.8 billion despite the far-reaching effects of COVID.

In a release announcing its performance in 2021, the supplier of fly fishing tackle and clothing also outlined its five-point plan to be as environmentally-friendly as possible These are:

  1. Continuing the shift towards sustainable materials in its products with 80% of new outer wear and 50% of new Active Apparel falling into that category;
  2. Reducing its carbon footprint with the goal of generating 80% of its electricity from Maine-based renewable sources;
  3. Recycling 87% of waste in its Maine facilities;
  4. Reducing plastic packaging by transitioning 60% of its plastic mailers to recyclable paper;
  5. Moving away from the use of PFAS plastic in its water-resistant products.

Shawn Gorman, L.L. Bean Executive Chairman of the Board and great-grandson of founder, Leon Leonwood Bean, said: “In accordance with long-held stakeholder philosophy, the company is committed to considering the impacts of business decisions on a number of key groups – customers, employees, vendors, shareholders and the natural environment.”

In recognition of its results, the Board has also approved a performance bonus of 20% of annual pay for approximately 5,000 employees, which includes a 12% cash bonus. During the year it raised the company minimum wage to $15 an hour, with retail employee total compensation packages exceeding the industry average.

The President and CEO of L.L. Bean, Stephen Smith, said: “As we weathered the ongoing impact of the pandemic, we were inspired by the number of people who continued to the outdoors for respite and who trusted L.L. Bean to outfit them for their everyday adventures – proving that the brand has never been stronger. Our global teams have shown incredible resilience and agility in the face of an ever-changing retail environment and never-seen-before supply chain challenges.”

Smith added: “By accurately forecasting consumer demand and securing inventory early, we were able to meet the needs of our customers which in turn yielded one of the strongest years of growth in company history.”

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