Freeport, ME June 1, 2021
An Update on Inventory
We realize that some of you may be experiencing back orders, longer than usual wait times for delivery or finding that items are completely out of stock, and for that, we sincerely apologize. While this is not an issue unique to us here at L.L.Bean- as it’s a challenge many retailers are facing - we’ve always believed that honesty is the best policy, so we wanted to share more about what’s going on behind the scenes.
“OUTDOORS” IN HIGH DEMAND
Last year we were all reminded just how beneficial time spent outside can be for our mental, physical and emotional health. In fact, Americans turned to the outdoors in record numbers in 2020, with hiking, camping, fishing and biking becoming extremely popular activities. We love to see this reconnection with the outdoors, and we’re even more excited by the fact that getting outside is now a more prominent part of our lives. Because of this increased interest in outdoor activities, we are experiencing extremely high demand for a number of items at L.L.Bean. Our teams are working as fast as possible to ensure we have available inventory to meet our customers’ needs, but in some cases, demand is simply outpacing supply. In fact, we see this increased demand carrying over to all of our products as more customers are looking for quality, style and durability – both inside their homes and in the outdoors. For example, during the first three months of 2021, our customers have purchased more outdoor furniture than they did in all of 2019! And our men’s and women’s casual and active apparel continues to be extremely popular – especially as warmer weather rolls in and more activities outside the home resume.
LINGERING IMPACTS OF COVID
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, last year retailers had to close stores, trim inventory and predict which items customers may want or need (toilet paper or tents or both?), which created uncertainty for both customers and for brands. The challenges of operating during the pandemic have created several long-term obstacles for businesses as they try to return to normal operations. As the world continues to reopen, we’re all working as fast as possible to fully recover. That means predicting and adjusting to new buying patterns as everyone’s daily activities shift back to working in offices (trading in sweatpants for pants with buttons) and planning travel and activities further away from our homes. We’re working with our teams and the most trusted industry experts to accurately forecast and purchase what our customers will want. But unfortunately, no inventory model has an “emerge from pandemic” button.
Ensuring we have the items customers want is just the start – we obviously need to get the items from manufacturers into your homes. Always a complex task, there are even more dynamics at play right now that are slowing this down. From ongoing port congestion, ships getting stuck in canals to container and truck driver shortages, supply chain challenges will likely persist throughout this year for us and for many retailers. Please know that our Supply Chain teams are working around the clock to fulfill all backorders, and we will keep working closely with our delivery partners to ensure you receive your items as quickly as possible.
We know it can be frustrating to wait for your new items, and while our teams are doing everything they can, our inventory experts recommend the following:
1. First, thank you for your patience. Customers have been extremely patient throughout this past year and we ask that you continue to bear with us as we are working as hard as we can to get you what you want and need – but it’s going to take some time to get back to normal.
2. If you see what you want, buy it. Inventory is selling quickly, so we recommend snagging it while you can.
3. Shop early. While we’ve gotten used to on-demand and in-season shopping, planning ahead may help ensure you are able to find what you want and need.
4. Check back often and reserve items when you can. Teams are working each day to bring in inventory – so if you don’t see the item you want in-stock, check our site frequently.
5. Remember that we want to get you the product as much as you want it – and we will do it as quickly as we possibly can.
Thank you for your patience and commitment to L.L.Bean, and we’ll see you outside!
Your Team at L.L.Bean
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 2020, L.L.Bean donated over $6 million to 100+ outdoor and community-enriching organizations, many of which focus on increasing access to outdoor spaces. 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 www.llbean.com, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.