L.L. Bean boosts revenue in record-setting FY ’21, approves bonuses

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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L.L. Bean had a successful fiscal year 2021.

L.L. Bean is sharing the good fortune it experienced in fiscal year 2021 with performance bonuses for employees.

The privately-held 108-year-old outdoor retailer does not release an annual report, but did announce that its net revenue for fiscal year 2021 totaled $1.8 billion. This marked a 14% over its $1.59 billion annual revenue reported in fiscal year 2020, making 2021 among the most successful years in company history despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

In recognition of these results, the L.L.Bean board of directors approved a performance bonus of 20% of annual pay for its approximately 5,500 employees, comprised of a 12% cash bonus and an 8% 401(k) contribution. According to the retailer, increased consumer interest in the outdoors contributed to its performance.

2021 Highlights
During fiscal 2021, L.L. Bean’s achievements included:

  • Introducing more than 800 new pieces of gear, footwear, apparel and equipment across all categories.
  • Hitting an all-time demand record for men’s and women’s apparel.  
  • Experiencing double-digit growth in a variety of categories, including active apparel (+36%), active footwear and hiking footwear (+26%), outerwear (+28%), travel (+50%) and winter sports (+25%). 
  • Entering wholesale relationships with Nordstrom, Zappos, Scheels, and Staples.
  • Continuing shift toward sustainable materials in its products, as 80% of new Outerwear and 50% of new Active Apparel use sustainable materials.
  • Reducing carbon footprint, with a goal to generate 80% of company electricity from Maine-based renewable sources.
  • Recycling 87% of waste in its Maine facilities.
  • Reducing plastic packaging by transitioning 60% of its plastic mailers to recyclable paper.
  • Opening three new stores in the U.S. and four in Canada in partnership with Jaytex Group
  • Hiring 4,200 seasonal holiday employees to meet peak season demand.
  • Investing $98 million in employee benefits, including bonuses, 401(k) contributions and enhancements, and holiday gifts
  • Proactively raising company minimum wage to $15/hour, with retail employee total compensation packages exceeding industry average
  • Launching professional development programs focused on inclusive leadership and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion ((DEI) in the workplace, along with employee resource groups for veterans and LGBTQAI+ employees  

In addition, two new independent directors joined the L.L.Bean board of directors: Diane Neal, former CEO of Sur La Table and Bath & Body Works, and Deborah Yeh, chief marketing officer of Sephora Americas. Former independent director Hugh Farrington retired in 2021 after serving seven years on the L.L. Bean board of directors. 

“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,” said L.L.Bean president and CEO Stephen Smith. “Our global teams have shown incredible resilience and agility in the face of an ever-changing retail environment and never-before-seen supply chain challenges. By accurately forecasting consumer demand and securing inventory early, we were able to meet our customers’ needs, which in turn yielded one of our strongest years of growth in company history.”