Speaking at Husson University’s Richard E. Dyke Center for Family Business, L.L. Bean’s CEO Stephen Smith said he expects inventory to run low by mid-December due to ongoing supply chain challenges.

“Shopping early, shopping now, definitely is critical,” Smith said, according to the Bangor Daily News. “We will be low in inventory by the time Christmas comes around.”

Smith discussed his efforts since he took over as CEO in 2016 to make L.L. Bean a more contemporary brand that was signaled by the “Be an Outsider” campaign. He elaborated on the acceleration in online sales and surge in interest in outdoor activities during the pandemic. The shifts led to the strongest year in the company’s century-long history and he said 2021 is primed to also reach a record.

Smith said, “We clicked into the American psyche from a marketing perspective and a product perspective.”

Photo courtesy L.L. Bean