L.L. Bean looks to northern neighbor to boost sales

FREEPORT, Maine (AP) — L.L. Bean is looking across the border to Canada to boost sales.

The Maine-based retailer has signed an agreement in which its iconic boot and other products will be sold in 24 stores in Canada for the holiday season, and in L.L. Bean-branded stores opening over the next decade. The company also has launched a dedicated website for Canadian customers that smooths out duties and currency fluctuations.

Bean is coming off several years of flat sales and an era of belt-tightening that included a reduction in the workforce, a tightening of its generous return policy, and a paring of products.

CEO Steve Smith said Canada currently accounts for about 2 percent of Bean’s annual sales; he said the company hopes to double that in three to four years.

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