The outdoor brand founded on the basic principle of reacting to the needs of the consumer announced the second-largest round of layoffs in its 91-year history.

L.L. Bean will cut 300 jobs in the next two months despite turning a higher profit in 2002. The company has not disclosed which jobs will be cut, but most workers are likely to be hourly workers, rather than salaried workers, who were impacted by other recent reductions.

Bean saw a 5.0% increase in unit sales this fall season, but revenues remained flat. The company is estimating that net sales for fiscal 2002 ending February 28, 2003 will be about $1.1 billion, down 3.5% from $1.14 billion the previous year. Bean is projecting that revenue will inch up only a percentage point or so in 2003.

The outdoor apparel and equipment retailer laid off 175 employees last January as part of a reorganization, but those cuts were primarily in the merchandising and marketing divisions and ranged from senior managers to administrative support positions. In 1995, about 350 positions were eliminated. With Tuesday’s cuts, Bean has reduced its work force by 15% in the last year.

>>> Pundits feel that Bean is a victim of its own quality and product longevity, but the consumer’s move to “disposable fashion” doesn’t impact Bean’s aging boomer base. Now, if we could just get that 401(k) back up and stem price deflation…