L.L.Bean ended the 2023 fiscal year with annual net revenue totaling $1.7 billion, compared to $1.8 billion in the prior year. The L.L.Bean Board of Directors approved a performance bonus of 9 percent of annual pay for its approximately 5,600 employees, comprised of a 5 percent cash bonus and a 4 percent 401(k) contribution.

The company said that after record-breaking years fueled by pandemic buying trends, 2023 failed to meet the company’s budget goals and sales were down slightly year-over-year. Still, in the face of significant headwinds felt across U.S. retail, L.L.Bean said it navigated supply chain challenges and ensured steady inventory and timely fulfillment, including during the critical peak holiday season.

Key Product Contributors
The year was also reportedly marked by continued investment in the company’s omni-channel growth strategy, increasing accessibility to its assortment of outdoor gear, apparel, footwear, equipment, home goods, and more.

Top-performing products drove year-over-year growth in Outerwear, Sweaters and Denim.

  • Men’s Insulated Utility Outerwear (+100 percent), Women’s 207 Vintage Jeans (+138 percent) and Men’s Heritage Soft Cotton Sweaters (+102 percent) were key apparel drivers.
  • Denim category demand with Bean Flex Denim was up 20 percent year-over-year.
  • Outerwear saw strong demand for the Men’s and Women’s Upcountry Waxed-Cotton Down Jacket (+111 percent and +49 percent respectively), the top-performing product across the Hunt/Fish category.

LLB grew demand for the iconic Boat and Tote by 31 percent, the company’s top contributor to new customer growth, with 43 percent of top-performing goods purchased from the Active and Rugged categories.

  • Select footwear, including women’s Stormchaser Boots (+16 percent) and men’s Stonington Shoes (+24 percent) were also highlighted as key performers.

Store Growth
L.L.Bean opened four retail stores in the U.S. and Canada, including its first in Quebec in partnership with Jaytex Group, in 2023, increasing the company’s retail footprint in North America to 58 stores in the U.S. and 13 stores in Canada. The retailer also launched a French-language e-commerce site for Canadian customers, integrated in-store and e-commerce product distribution options, including BPIS, added new wholesale partnerships, and expanded mobile selling experiences to reach more customers in more geographic regions.

Channel diversification also helped the retailer chart year-over-year growth in key product categories, including outerwear, sweaters and denim. L.L. Bean reported expanding its inclusive sizing program to include gear and equipment to create greater accessibility to outdoor activities.

“2023 was a challenging year across the outdoor specialty retail industry and we were not immune to the headwinds,” said Stephen Smith, president and CEO of L.L.Bean. “However, we are encouraged by the return on our omni-channel investments and the momentum that has created. We’re grateful for our customers, who, despite the challenges posed by downward economic forces, again showed unwavering trust and loyalty in L.L.Bean. I also commend our global teams for continuing to innovate, collaborate and problem-solve to deliver products that people love—further building emotional connection and loyalty—with the care and service our brand is known for.”

Despite the slowdown in sales, the company said its fiscal performance fueled $5.7 million in contributions to outdoor and community-based nonprofit organizations in 2023. 

“In a world of growing complexity, we’re even more attuned to nature’s pivotal role in nurturing wellbeing and resilience,” said Shawn Gorman, company executive chairman and great-grandson of founder Leon Leonwood Bean. “Alongside our purpose to inspire and enable people to experience the restorative power of being outside, our dedication to quality and customer service continues to make L.L.Bean a leading outdoor retailer. Our people can be proud of the meaningful impact they have in our communities and the lives of our customers.”

Employee Investment and Reach

  • Invested almost $75 million in employee benefits, wage increases, bonuses, 401(k) contributions and enhancements, and holiday gifts.
  • Employed 5,500-plus globally in L.L.Bean retail stores and across offices and homes in Maine, Costa Rica, Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
  • Hired 2,800-plus seasonal employees to meet peak holiday season demand.

Employee Wellbeing

  • Opened its new 390,000-square-foot corporate headquarters in Freeport, ME, designed to invite the outdoors in, with amenities and services that promote employee wellbeing.
  • Employees enjoyed 78,000-plus hours outside for paid Outdoor Experience Days.

Charitable Partners, Commitments and Impact

  • Invested $5.7 million in outdoor programs and community partnerships, enabling 16.7 million people to experience the “restorative power of being outside.”
  • Contributed $250,000 to the Maine Community Foundation for the Lewiston /Auburn Area Response Fund to support victims, their families and community recovery efforts.
  • Continued multi-year partnerships with Mental Health America, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, YMCA, National Park Foundation, Trust for Public Land, and others to promote outdoor access and wellbeing, including going dark on social media for Mental Health Awareness Month.
  • Partnered with Strava to launch a series of outdoor-centric challenges to encourage nearly 300,000 participants to enjoy spending 3.8 million hours outside.

Expanding Customer Touchpoints

  • Established wholesale partnerships with Academy Sports + Outdoors, Dillard’s, Moosejaw, and ten independent outdoor specialty stores, placing L.L.Bean products in 100-plus new storefronts and e-commerce platforms.
  • Expanded its brick-and-mortar footprint, opening four retail stores in North America, including the company’s first two stores in Quebec, Canada in partnership with Jaytex Group.
  • Launched a French-language e-commerce site for Canadian customers.
  • Took L.L.Bean’s Mobile Selling Experience on the road, visiting 19 states and traveling 10,469 miles in the Bootmobile, creating 17,600 in-person customer experiences.

Advancing Inclusivity

  • Continued to invest in Veteran, Pride, and BIPOC Employee Business Resource Groups.
  • Held listening sessions and discussion groups throughout the year on topics including access and inclusion in the outdoors and inclusive leadership.

Investing in Sustainable Practices and Materials

  • Advanced efforts to eliminate the use of PFAS in L.L.Bean-labeled products by the end of 2024.
  • Transitioning packaging from plastic to paper throughout the supply chain, starting with 100 percent elimination of external plastic packaging by 2025.
  • Continued progress toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions at L.L.Bean-owned facilities by 50 percent by 2025.
  • On track to achieve 80 percent renewable energy usage in Maine operations by 2025.
  • Set goal to reduce total value chain carbon emissions by 25 percent by 2030.

Images courtesy L.L.Bean