Thursday, February 23, 2006

Jumping Bean

L.L. Bean announces retail expansion

L.L. Bean Inc. (Freeport, Me.) has announced plans to open retail stores in three new states, along with significant investments in retail and operations at the home of their corporate headquarters and flagship retail store in Freeport.

The first of these stores will open in September, in Burlington, Mass. A new store in Center Valley, near Allentown, Pa., will open in October. And a location in South Windsor, Conn., will follow in summer 2007.

The outdoors lifestyle merchandise company said additional locations in greater Boston are being pursued for openings in 2007 and 2008. All of the stores will be similar in style and size to existing 30,000-square-foot L.L. Bean retail stores in Maryland and New Jersey and will feature apparel and a selection of outdoor gear.

"We have a lot of things in the works," said Ed Howell, L.L. Bean's chief retail officer. "In addition to expanding our retail presence in the Northeast, we are also moving forward with significant new investments at home here in Maine."

The company has acquired property adjoining the L.L. Bean flagship and hunting and fishing stores, giving it additional retail space to expand upon the outdoor theme of its existing retail campus by incorporating green space and natural landscaping, including rocks, streams, waterfalls and outdoor activity areas.

L.L. Bean is also reaffirming its desire to develop a separate four-acre parcel it owns across the street from the newly acquired property. Development of the parcel would provide hundreds of additional parking spots and bring as much as 100,000 square feet of new retail space to the downtown.

"With these announcements, we envision a major transformation for downtown Freeport," said L.L. Bean president and ceo Chris McCormick. "These changes will significantly enhance the overall experience for L.L. Bean customers, and represent tens of millions of dollars of new commercial investment in our home town of Freeport."

L.L. Bean currently has retail stores located in Tysons Corner, Va., Columbia, Md., Marlton, N.J., and West Lebanon, N.H., as well as in Freeport. The company also has 14 factory stores located throughout the Northeast.

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