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Report: L.L. Bean to lay off 200 to 240 workers


New York City L.L. Bean notified employees Friday that it plans to lay off 200 to 240 workers in Maine because of sluggish sales, the Associated Press reported.

In a letter to its 5,400 full- and part-time workers, the retailer said that while voluntary retirement incentives announced in February helped reduce the number of layoffs, they were not sufficient to eliminate the need for job cuts.

The letter from president and CEO Chris McCormick, obtained by The Associated Press, played down hopes for a quick turnaround as unrealistic.

The privately held company said last month that revenue for the fiscal year that ended in February totaled $1.5 billion, down 7.8% from the previous year. It was only the third annual drop in revenue since 1960. L.L. Bean does not release earnings.

Employees who will lose their jobs will be notified beginning at the end of next week. L.L. Bean, which already had imposed a wage freeze, had warned its workers late last year of potential layoffs.

Along with the job cuts in Maine, the company anticipates about a dozen layoffs at retail and outlet stores in other states, the report said.

The layoffs will take place during the next few weeks and will affect both salaried and hourly employees. Some full-time workers will be offered part-time jobs.

This isn't the first time that L.L. Bean, which gets most of its revenue from catalog and online sales, has been forced to cut jobs. A similar number of layoffs occurred during the sales slump that followed the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, spokeswoman Carolyn Beem said.

McCormick's letter says the latest revenue losses have put pressure on the company's gross margin, forcing the need to control expenses.

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