FREEPORT, Maine — Declaring 2012 a success, L.L. Bean Inc. on Friday announced that it was paying out 7.5 percent performance bonuses to roughly 5,000 full- and part-time employees.
The company posted $1.52 billion in revenue during 2012, the 100th birthday of the iconic business, it said in a news release.
“L.L. Bean has performed very well in a continuing volatile retail environment — with economic uncertainty, political distractions and shaky consumer confidence. We ended the year with a modest gain in net sales over the prior year, but significant improvement in productivity,” Chris McCormick, L.L. Bean’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “We made substantial long-term productivity investments in the business beginning in 2010 — from web enhancements to product assortment to free shipping -– and we are now reaping the benefits.”
McCormick said men’s apparel, women’s apparel and sporting goods all had their best sales in company history, and that its hunting and fishing department also posted healthy growth. Production of the famous L.L. Bean boot remains at an all-time high, McCormick said, “demonstrating Bean’s first product is as relevant today as it was 100 years ago.”
The 2012 revenue results show a healthy increase from the $1.36 billion in revenue the company posted in 2009 at the lowest point of the recession, according to Carolyn Beem, a company spokeswoman.
“Growth over last year was modest, and we are working back to pre-recession sales,” Beem wrote in an email to the Bangor Daily News on Friday. “Profits were healthy this year, and we are seeing the results of investments in the business made beginning in 2010.”
Those investments include a doubling of resources the company put into its website and a dedication to offering free shipping.
Bonuses, which can run up to 15 percent, are discretionary and based on profits, Beem said. The company has paid a bonus the past four years; last year, they were 3 percent, she said.
Also notable were the number of stores L.L. Bean opened around the world in 2012. It opened stores in Danbury, Conn., and North Hampton, N.H.; one in Japan, bringing the total in that country to 20; and five stores in China, bringing the total number of L.L. Bean locations in that country to 62.