LL Bean sales grow 14% during second year of pandemic

FREEPORT, Maine — A greater interest in the outdoors during the pandemic helped to drive double-digit revenue growth for L.L. Bean, allowing the board to provide a healthy bonus for workers today.

Sales grew by 14% during the retailer’s 2021 fiscal year, the biggest gain since 1993, and a cash bonus of 12% was awarded to workers, officials said.

“We had a fantastic year,” CEO Steve Smith told The Associated Press. He praised workers for their resilience in dealing with the pandemic, supply-chain issues and other challenges.

Smith said the company bet on strong performance and increased the volume of orders from vendors as shoppers began snapping up outdoors gear at the start of the pandemic.

“People clearly reconnected to the outdoors, and the outdoors became a critical component in people’s lives,” he said.

The company boasted double-digit growth categories including active clothing and athleisure; outerwear and active footwear; camping and hiking; winter sports; and travel.

All told, the company recorded sales of $1.8 billion, a new record, building on last year’s 5% growth, officials said.

The board shared the wealth with workers who received a 20% bonus — 12% in cash and 8% in 401k contributions, officials said. All 5,500 full- and part-time employees qualify for the bonus.