L.L.Bean Announces Retail Entry into China
First L.L.Bean Store to Open in Beijing in September 2008
Freeport, ME, September 17, 2008 – L.L.Bean, a leading retailer of quality outdoor gear and apparel, will open its first store in China. The store will be located in the Solana Mall in Beijing and will be operated through a joint venture between the 96-year old Maine outfitter and Youngone Corporation of Korea. The open-air lifestyle shopping center Solana Mall is located in Chaoyang Park, one of the largest urban parks in Asia.
The store opening marks the first time that L.L.Bean products are available directly to consumers in China through retail. The Beijing store will offer about 3,000 square feet of retail space, and is the first of five L.L.Bean stores scheduled to open this year as part of the company's China-based joint venture.
"L.L.Bean is a trusted and authentic brand that inspires and enables individuals and families to enjoy the outdoors," said Chris McCormick, President and CEO of L.L.Bean. "Throughout China there is a growing interest in participating in outdoor and recreational activities. L.L.Bean is a natural fit within this market. This is an area we have been studying for some time as we've considered ways to expand our international presence and diversify our business. China provides many opportunities with their growing marketplace."
The store has been designed as a "total outdoor lifestyle shop" and will provide a product assortment to support the growing active outdoor lifestyle in China. L.L.Bean product offerings will include men's, women's and kids' outdoor apparel and footwear; luggage; and a selection of outdoor sporting goods including hiking and camping equipment.
The design and layout of the store will be reminiscent of the company's flagship store in Freeport, Maine. The design makes use of natural lighting and weathered timbers to create an outdoor atmosphere, and will feature company heritage photos and displays focusing on outdoor recreation.
The store will be the first to be opened under a joint venture agreement between L.L.Bean and Youngone Corporation.
"We have established a trusted partnership with Youngone," said Zane Shatzer, General Manager of International Marketing. "Youngone shares our corporate values and has broad experience in retail operations and in building brands in China. We look forward to working with them as we expand our retail presence in China."
Planning is currently underway for the Solana store's grand opening. There will be a number of special events and activities and special archival displays of vintage products and photographs reflecting the heritage of the company.