Skip to main content

It's time to upgrade your browser

Your current browser is no longer supported on Please upgrade to one of the following for a smoother, safer shopping experience with us:

Freeport, ME, July 17, 2020

L.L.Bean to Launch First-Ever Wholesale Partnerships in the U.S. in 2020

Internationally recognized outdoor retailer L.L.Bean, best known for its legendary customer service and high-quality gear and apparel, announced it will enter into wholesale partnerships in the U.S. for the first time in company history, making its iconic products more accessible to customers online and in partner retail locations across the country. Beginning with the summer back to school shopping season, L.L.Bean will launch its wholesale efforts with the brand’s classic backpacks and accessories in Staples, the national destination for working and learning products and services. A curated offering of the brand’s renowned outdoor assortment, including its popular Bean Boots, active outerwear, fleece and flannel, will later be made available in the Midwestern sporting goods retailer SCHEELS, and then later in the fall and into the holiday season with legendary retailer Nordstrom. All three partnerships will place L.L.Bean products in an additional 1,200-plus stores as well as the online channels of each retailer.

“We have been working with these amazing partners for more than a year, and we are excited to be able to finally announce the next phase of our omnichannel growth strategy,” said Stephen Smith, L.L.Bean President and CEO. “As a 108-year old retailer, we believe in the longevity and strength of the industry while also recognizing that the way customers shop and interact with brands will continue to shift and evolve quickly,” said Smith. “We are looking forward to customers being able to access and interact with our fantastic products amidst the Staples, SCHEELS and Nordstrom shopping experiences, broadening our resilient channel mix.”

As a direct-to-consumer business for 108 years, and well-known to many through its website, flagship campus and catalogs, L.L.Bean’s entry into wholesale is a pivotal move in making the company’s products more accessible. Currently operating 54 locations, which are primarily located across New England and the Atlantic region, the company’s commitment to broaden its omnichannel approach via wholesale will provide new customers in new areas the opportunity to experience, first-hand, the famous quality and durability of L.L.Bean’s active and outdoor products.

“Wholesale partnerships are about who you trust with your customers,” said Shawn Gorman, Executive Chairman and great-grandson of L.L.Bean. “As a family-owned business known for its stakeholder-first approach and world-class customer service, we are proud to partner with these longstanding brands - two of which are family-run, and all three combined share 350 years of outstanding service and experience in retail.”

The partnership with Massachusetts-based Staples, a leading destination for back-to-school shopping, known for a broad assortment of high quality products, will put L.L.Bean’s iconic backpacks, lunch boxes and water bottles in more than 1,000 Staples stores and online at in late June. In addition, 75 Staples stores will carry an expanded assortment including pencil cases and keychains. On June 26, 39 L.L.Bean retail stores will begin to carry a selection of Staples® brand essential back to school products, including writing instruments, notebooks, binders and folders.

"Staples is thrilled to broaden our back to school assortment to include L.L.Bean’s backpacks and accessories this upcoming season,” said Mike Motz, Staples US Retail CEO. “As the learning landscape continues to evolve, the need for quality, affordable school supplies remains constant. The L.L.Bean portfolio of products supports our back to school customer, whether students are learning from a traditional classroom or from home."

Fargo, N.D.-based SCHEELS will bring the L.L.Bean experience to customers in six of its retail stores, offering outdoor and sporting enthusiasts many of the brand’s must-have, active essentials. With a presence primarily in the midwestern U.S., L.L.Bean will launch wholesale in partnership with SCHEELS beginning this fall.

“As our 100+ year old companies share many common values, SCHEELS is proud to partner with L.L. Bean and excited about the opportunity,” said Steve Scheel, SCHEELS CEO. “The quality and iconic L.L. Bean products will offer our customers another premium brand for which they have come to trust while pursuing their outdoor and active lifestyle activities.”

Known for superior customer service, family-run Seattle-based Nordstrom will offer a curated selection of legendary L.L.Bean items alongside its mix of world-renowned fashion brands in 20 of its stores nationwide and online. Nordstrom will offer iconic L.L. Bean classics including the famous Bean Boot, rugged outerwear, popular fleece, flannel and more. Nordstrom wholesale will begin in November in-stores and online.

For the latest news and information about L.L.Bean, visit the L.L.Bean Newsroom and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

About L.L.Bean, Inc.

L.L.Bean, Inc. is a leading multichannel merchant 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. Still family owned, Shawn Gorman, great grandson of Leon Leonwood Bean, was named Chairman of the Board of Directors in 2013. While its business has grown over the years, L.L.Bean continues to uphold the values of its founder, including his dedication to quality, customer service and a love of the outdoors. In the past five years, L.L.Bean has donated over $6 million toward conservation and land stewardship. L.L.Bean operates 54 stores in 19 states across the United States, along with 25 stores in Japan. The 220,000-sq. ft. L.L.Bean retail store campus in Freeport, ME, is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and welcomes more than 3 million visitors every year. L.L.Bean can be found worldwide at, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.

About Staples US Retail

Staples US Retail supports lifelong achievement for small businesses and consumers with the products and resources they need for continued professional and personal growth. With a focus on community and shared learning, Staples retail locations serve millions of customers from entrepreneurs and small businesses to parents, teachers and students. For more information about Staples US Retail and to stay up to date on weekly deals and events, please visit us in store or online at®.


Three acres of potatoes were the seed for the first SCHEELS store in 1902. Frederick A. Scheel, a German immigrant, used the $300 he earned from that first harvest as the down payment on the first SCHEELS, a small hardware and general merchandise store in Sabin, Minnesota.

Over the years, SCHEELS opened in surrounding communities including Fargo in 1930, where the Corporate Offices are located. Firmly planted in the hardware business, SCHEELS had a small selection of sporting goods from the beginning in 1902. Customer interest grew, and more sports lines were added with athletic shoes and clothing being introduced in the product mix in 1972.

Today, SCHEELS is one of the premiere sporting goods stores in America with more than 118 years of retail experience, superior customer service and local philanthropic support. The Missoula SCHEELS will be the company’s 30th location, with 27 existing stores in 12 states including North Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, Montana, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Nevada, Illinois, Utah, Kansas, and Colorado. Three other stores are scheduled to open in 2020 and spring 2021. These include a new store in Eden Prairie, Minn., replacing a smaller store, and new markets in The Colony, Texas and Colorado Springs.

Currently, Steve D. Scheel, the great grandson of SCHEELS founder, is the company's Chairman of the Board, and great-great grandson Steve M. Scheel is CEO. Bill Nelson serves as President and oversees SCHEELS daily operations of nearly 7,000 associates. Learn more at