L.L.Bean Sales Grow 14% During Second Year of Pandemic
Increased consumer interest in outdoor lifestyles during the pandemic contributed to double-digit revenue growth for L.L.Bean in its 2021 fiscal year, according to company press release published on March 18. Sales for the outdoor retailer totaled $1.8 billion, a 14 percent increase over 2020, and making it one of L.L.Bean’s most successful years in company history. In recognition of these results, the L.L.Bean board of directors approved a performance bonus of 20 percent of annual pay for its approximately 5,500 employees, comprised of a 12 percent cash bonus and an 8 percent 401(k) contribution.
L.L.Bean also said its success stemmed from an ongoing investment in its omnichannel presence, wholesale partnerships, new product offerings, and international expansion. The company said it saw record demand for men's and women's apparel in a range of categories, including active apparel, camping and hiking, outerwear, winter sports, kids, and travel.
Total Retail's Take: Unlike many other retailers and brands, L.L.Bean was uniquely positioned to survive and even thrive despite the pandemic that wreaked havoc on much of the retail industry over the past two years. Consumers, desperate to gather with family and friends during the pandemic, turned to the iconic retailer for apparel and gear as they gathered safely outdoors.
"As we weathered the ongoing impact of the pandemic, we were inspired by the number of people who continued to turn to the outdoors for respite and who trusted L.L.Bean to outfit them for their everyday adventures — proving that our brand has never been stronger," L.L.Bean President and CEO Stephen Smith said in the company press release.
No doubt, L.L.Bean also benefited from rising consumer spending power over the past several months, thanks to government support and rising wages. That could start to wane, however, as pandemic relief ends and inflation takes over. Furthermore, it remains to be seen if consumer demand for outdoor apparel and gear will remain at the elevated levels seen at the height of the pandemic. It likely won't, but L.L.Bean still has the opportunity to convert its new buyers into repeat customers, developing the brand loyalists the company has long been known for.