Women's Wear Daily has a story about LL Bean's strategy of finding new ways to reach its customers.
There is, of course, the online and catalog business. There is the company's growing fleet of stores. And now, there is a growing roster of other retailers with which LL Bean is doing business, serving as a wholesaler providing products in other banners. This "enhanced omnichannel strategy is one that the Maine-based company has been adopting in recent years. Once the new initiatives are rolled out, the outdoor-loving brand will have its products in 70-plus additional outposts, as well as through its online platforms."
In addition to "building its distribution through key wholesale accounts — Dillard’s and Moosejaw and 10 independent ones in Southeastern states," LL Bean in the next two months "will unveil two stores in Canada’s Montreal region and two in the US," WWD writes. "The first one — an 18,000-square-foot space — will debut in Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Quebec on Aug. 25. Shortly after Labor Day, the company will start welcoming shoppers to a Hanover, Massachusetts, location on Sept. 8. That will be followed by the unveiling of a 11,500-square-foot outpost in Boisbriand, Quebec on Sept. 29. The fourth store is slated for Oct. 6 in Peabody, Massachusetts. The French-friendly e-commerce site’s introduction will be in line with the two new Canadian stores.
"Plans for any store openings in 2024 have not yet been revealed, according to a company spokesman. L.L.Bean currently has 56 stores in the U.S and 25 stores in Japan, as well as 13 licensed retail locations in Canada that are operated by Ontario-based Jaytex Group."
WWD writes that "the company, which relied largely on repeat catalogue customers for decades as its base, has been trying to make inroads with Millennials and Gen-Z consumers through occasional collaborations, such as ones with fashion designer Todd Snyder. Interest in its classic tote bag went viral on TikTok, thanks in part to ironic monograms that caught on with influencers and urbanites more than a year ago. To freshen up the company’s spring catalogue, artist Sebastian Blanck was recruited to provide the cover … The bolstered multichannel is aimed at catering to consumers — including new ones — wherever they might be, according to L.L. Bean president and chief executive officer Stephen Smith. The new initiatives abide by the company’s M.O. of 'enabling people to experience the restorative power of being outside, and will ensure we’re able to fulfill that purpose for years to come,' he said."
- KC's View:
LL Bean is one of my favorite companies, an exemplar of how to grow and expand and mature in ways that are consistent with what customers need and want, and that reflect how the culture and technology are changing. At the same time, it always has been true to itself and its core values. LL Bean remains a case study in company excellence.