L.L. Bean to expand footprint in U.S., Canada; resume 24/7 hours at flagship

Marianne Wilson
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Coming off its strongest fiscal year in nearly a decade, L.L. Bean will open seven stores in 2021 and continue to diversify its channel strategy through wholesale partnerships, large-scale collaborations and e-commerce enhancements. 

The 108-year outdoor retailer, whose revenue rose 5% in 2020 to $1.59 billion, will open three new U.S. stores, with the first location set to open on May 14, in Salem, N.H. The store — L.L. Bean’s sixth in the Granite State — will be part of Tuscan Village, an expansive lifestyle center with trails, greenspace and a pond, viewable from the back porch of L.L. Bean. Along with stores, restaurants, hotel and entertainment venues, the center is home to residential space and medical and academic facilities. 

Additionally, new L.L. Bean stores will open in the fall at The Shops at Blackstone Valley, in Millbury, Mass., and at The Boulevard in Amherst, N.Y., an open-air center with some 50 shops and restaurants. 

“While 2020 posed many challenges to our business, including the temporary closure of all retail stores, we are committed to increasing our brick-and-mortar presence in order to serve more communities,” said Stephen Smith, president and CEO, L.L. Bean, which operates 54 stores in 19 states across the United States, along with 25 stores in Japan. “We know that a record number of people reconnected with the outdoors amidst the pandemic, some for the first time, and we see these new habits remaining firmly in place going forward.”

L.L. Bean will open four stores in Canada across three provinces in the fall. The expansion follows the opening of three locations in Ontario last year. 

The new stores are slated to open in Victoria and Burnaby, British Columbia; Dartmouth, Nova Scotia; and Calgary, Alberta. L.L. Bean said its Canadian expansion comes in response to its growing customer base – which saw 100% growth in 2020 – and continued customer interest in a larger physical retail presence across Canada. 

In addition to new store openings, L.L. Bean’s 220,000-sq.-ft. flagship and Hunt & Fish Store in Freeport, Maine, will return to a 24-hour schedule on May 3.  Known for around-the-clock service, both stores temporarily closed as a result of the pandemic and re-opened with limited hours in May 2020. 

“My great-grandfather opened our flagship store more than 100 years ago and, in 1951, he implemented our signature 24-hour operating model as a way to accommodate sportsmen and women who would drive through Freeport in the middle of the night to ensure an early start the next morning,” said Shawn Gorman, executive chairman, L.L. Bean. “Returning to 24-hour service, extending hours and opening new stores all mark milestones for our organization and communities as we look toward a post-pandemic era and see a continued interest in the outdoors.” 

L.L. Bean will continue to focus on health and safety for its customers and employees, including requiring the wearing of face coverings, increased sanitation, social distancing, plexiglass barriers at checkout the option for curbside service and more.