L.L. Bean is freezing all wages and salaries for its 5,500 employees for the coming year due to slumping sales. Spokeswoman Carolyn Beem told a local paper that the move eliminates the need to reduce 75 to 100 positions.
The wage freeze will go into effect during the company's next budget period which starts in March. The company is also offering early retirement incentives to all employees who are 55 or older and have been with the company for five or more years. The program will be offered at the end of February through early April.
Company officials will determine whether layoffs will be necessary based in part on how many people opt for early retirement.
As reported, holiday sales were down 10%, and the company expects 2008 sales will close lower than 2007. Final figures are not yet available. The company does not forecast a turnaround until 2010, Beem said.