L.L. Bean Sees Slight Decline in Fiscal 2022 Sales, but Rewards 5,500 Employees
Capping off its 110th year in business, L.L. Bean reported net revenues of $1.8 billion — a 1 percent decline compared to fiscal year 2021.
There had been record-breaking sales for the company in 2021, which rose 14 percent. But it held onto recent gains to yield its second-strongest revenue performance in company history.
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L.L. Bean sells its apparel, footwear, accessories and gear through such venues as e-commerce, freestanding stores, wholesale partnerships, mobile selling, L.L. Bean for Business, and its signature catalogue. The company has invested in top-performing categories such as Active and Rugged, and has expanded its inclusive sizing and adopted a one-price model for all apparel. As has been the case in the past, the company is marking that strong performance by giving about 5,500 of its employees a bonus of 13.5 percent of annual pay. That bump up consists of a 7.5 percent cash bonus and a 6 percent 401(k) contribution.
L.L. Bean president and chief executive officer Stephen Smith said in a statement released Friday, “Our global teams continued to skillfully navigate a changing retail environment and uncertain economic climate,” citing innovative products, “accurate” inventory forecasting, supply chain, “agility, efficient” fulfillment systems, engaging marketing and customer service as examples.
The Maine-based omnichannel company saw growth in categories that reflect the changing lifestyles in a post-pandemic world. About 68 percent of employees indicated that they prefer remote work in a survey earlier this year. Part of that appeal for some is the opportunity to dress more comfortably and off-hours maintain physical activities and pursue outdoor activities. L.L. Bean’s fishing products, for example, posted an all-time sales record of 5 percent growth gain with technical fishing apparel sales up by 13 percent.
For full-year 2022, L.L. Bean’s top-performing categories reflect those shifts with women’s and men’s apparel reaching an all-time combined sales record. Some ultracasual categories spiked, like quilted sweatshirts and wearable throws, which were up by 112 percent and 252 percent, respectively. Some WFH-ers must be keeping their footwear casual, too, considering that L.L. Bean’s Wicked Good Slippers were the company’s bestselling product, and generated eight pairs sold per minute during the holidays. The company, which has stores and offices in Maine, Costa Rica, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan, hired 4,000 seasonal employees last year. In total, L.L. Bean invested $55 million in employee benefits, which included holiday gifts.
Last year the company unveiled a 390,000-square-foot campus and revealed a $50 million multiyear plan to update its flagship and retail campus in its home city of Freeport, Maine. Two new stores bowed in the U.S. and one debuted in Canada, as well as five others in Canada through a partnership with the Jaytex Group. One of the latest additions to L.L. Bean’s Freeport store hails to its roots. There, shoppers will find Marin Skincare’s soothing hydrating cream, which is made partially from lobster protein. Marin teamed with another Maine-based company, Luke’s Lobster, to extract the lobster protein that is used for its beauty cream.
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