L.L.Bean Reconsidering Return, Shipping Policies to Cut Costs
L.L.Bean is reconsidering its generous shipping and return policies in a move to cut costs. L.L.Bean currently offers free shipping on everything, and its "satisfaction" guarantee is so liberal that it's led to abuse of the return policy. Company officials said they will have more to say later this year about shipping and efforts to combat fraudulent returns. Along with this announcement, L.L.Bean says it’s freezing pensions and offering voluntary early retirements. The outdoors retailer will freeze its defined-benefit pension plan and boost its 401(k) savings contributions to all 5,000 workers, including 1,000 out-of-state store employees who were not previously eligible for the full pension
Total Retail’s Take: In this challenging retail environment, this comes as no surprise. L.L.Bean’s sales were flat in 2015, and showed slow growth in the years before that. The goal of all these proposed changes is to return L.L.Bean to the strong growth levels it enjoyed back in the 1980s and 1990s, said company CEO Steve Smith. It’s also becoming more common for companies to eliminate pensions and offer early retirements. By doing this, Smith expects to reduce his company’s workforce by 500 employees, and saving money in the process.