L.L.Bean Announces Continued International Expansion
November 16, 2006, Freeport, ME – L.L.Bean, Inc., the nation's leading developer and retailer of outdoor gear and apparel, announced the opening of two new stores in Japan, along with plans to explore expansion in other international markets.
The company known for high-quality products, customer service and its 100% satisfaction guarantee announced the opening of its 14th store in Japan this weekend. The store is located in the new Diamond City Mall in Musashimurayama, a western suburb of Tokyo. The new store will be the company's seventh retail location in the Tokyo area, up from just two in 2004. Half of the store is slated to be a hiking shop – hiking is a popular activity in Japan – with the remainder of the selling space dedicated to men's and women's apparel and footwear.
L.L.Bean's 15th store in Japan will open on December 4, 2006 in Yao City, a suburb of Osaka. It is the company's fourth store in the Kansai region, Japan's second most populous urban area.
L.L.Bean plans to open at least four stores in Japan per year, with sites for spring 2007 already under way: one in Niigata, on the western coast of Japan, and one in Sapporo. Both locations are particularly fitting for L.L.Bean, as Niigata boasts one of the highest annual snowfalls in the world and Sapporo was the site of the 1972 Winter Olympics.
L.L.Bean also expressed its intent to explore new international markets and recently named former general manager in charge of their Japan expansion, Zane Shatzer, as the new General Manager of International New Market Development. Shatzer has been with the company for 17 years, living in both Maine and Japan as his responsibilities changed.
"We are actively searching out locations for retail development in Latin America and Asia," says Shatzer. "But we are also looking to boost our presence in Canada with an in-country catalog, Web site and ultimately a retail presence." According to Shatzer, L.L.Bean has enjoyed a 30% annual increase in sales in Canada over the past 3 years, enough to spark the company's interest in exploring new expansion opportunities.
"With our domestic retail expansion effort well under way, it makes sense to start thinking about diversification and expansion in other markets," says Chris McCormick, president and CEO of L.L.Bean. "Of particular interest are international locations with a strong outdoor orientation, where customers can put L.L.Bean products and gear to the test right in their own backyards."
L.L.Bean, Inc. is a leading developer and retailer of quality outdoor gear and apparel. Founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean, the company began as a one-room operation selling a single product, the Maine Hunting Shoe. While its business has grown substantially, L.L.Bean still upholds the values of its founder and continues his dedication to quality, customer service and a love of the outdoors. In the past 5 years L.L.Bean has donated over $6.3 million toward conservation and land stewardship.
The L.L.Bean Retail Store in Freeport, ME, is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and welcomes more than 3.5 million visitors every year. The company also has 15 outlets and seven retail stores up and down the East Coast. You can visit L.L.Bean anytime at www.llbean.com or call 800-809-7057 to receive a free catalog.