L.L. Bean plans to pay 7.5% employee bonuses based on 2012 performance

L.L. Bean, the iconic Maine-based retailer of outdoor clothing and gear, reported 2012 revenue Friday of $1.521 billion, up from the previous year’s total of $1.517 billion.

L.L. Bean’s famous boots. Photo taken from a company website.

A privately held company headquartered in Freeport, Maine, L.L. Bean does not disclose net income. But because of “significant improvement in productivity,” L.L. Bean said that it performed well during 2012, its 100th anniversary year, despite a “volatile retail environment.”

On the basis of that performance, L.L. Bean said it plans to give bonuses to about 5,000 full-time and part-time employees. The bonuses will be equal to 7.5 percent of an employee’s pay in 2012.

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In a statement, L.L. Bean president and chief executive Chris McCormick said: “L.L.Bean has performed very well in a continuing volatile retail environment—with economic uncertainty, political distractions, and shaky consumer confidence. We ended the year with a modest gain in net sales over the prior year, but significant improvement in productivity.”

McCormick added: “We made substantial long-term productivity investments in the business beginning in 2010 – from Web enhancements to product assortment to free shipping – and we are now reaping the benefits. Our investments in the website have doubled starting in 2010, as our sales continue to shift to online and mobile. The free shipping that we implemented in 2011, while a risk, has been well received by our customers and is paying off. Focus on product assortment has led to greater productivity and bottom line contributions; Men’s and Women’s Apparel and Sporting Goods had their best sales in company history, and we have seen especially healthy improvements in our Hunting and Fishing categories.”

Outside of Maine, where L.L. Bean has its flagship store, there are 18 retail locations as well as 11 outlet stores. The company also has 20 stores in Japan and 62 in China.

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