Iconic US-based retailer L.L.Bean has capped a year of expansion into the Canadian market with the recent opening of a location in CF Shops at Don Mills in Toronto.
It is the company’s fourth store in the country and third opening in 2020.
DON MILLS L.L. BEAN LOCATION MARKS FOURTH CANADIAN LOCATION FOR COMPANY
L.L.Bean says that it has had a long and meaningful relationship with Canadian customers for decades. The retailer launched its Canadian e-commerce site in the fall of 2018, followed by the introduction of a Canada-specific catalogue. Less than a year later, the first retail location opened its doors in Oakville Ontario in August 2019. L.L.Bean then opened stores in Ottawa (third week of August 2020) and Barrie (first week of July 2020). It also opened a small outlet store in Vaughan Mills this year.
“We are excited about the success of the three stores that have already opened in Ontario as well as the overall success L.L.Bean is having in Canada this year,” said Howie Kastner, President of Jaytex Group, L.L.Bean’s Canadian partner. “As L.L.Bean at the CF Shops at Don Mills opens its doors to our loyal Canadian customers, we are able to continue to expand this iconic brand and most importantly, encourage more people to get outside.
“This store is interesting because our typical square footage is between 13,000 and 15,000 square feet. This one is 8,500 square feet. It’s a little smaller than our normal footprint but we thought we really needed a store in Toronto. It’s the biggest market in Canada for the catalogue and online business. So we took this space which is a great location. We’re carrying everything we carry in the other stores, it’s just a smaller footprint.”
Kastner said, “We have been looking for more locations across the country. We’re looking in Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, and in the Maritimes. We’ll probably open between three and five stores next year. We only open them if the deals are right and the centre is right and fits all our criteria. We’re really excited about our expansion in Canada and we’re going to keep growing and give the customer more options to be able to shop the brand.”
CANADIAN SALES HAVE GROWN FOR L.L. BEAN DESPITE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Despite the pandemic, L.L.Bean sales in Canada have grown. E-commerce sales are up significantly compared to 2019 and the brand has seen a two-fold increase in first-time Canadian shoppers.
“Following the successful opening of the new Barrie and Ottawa locations in addition to the number of customers reconnecting with the outdoors this year, we are grateful to our Canadian customers for welcoming L.L. Bean to their communities. While we are opening our final store for the year, we look forward to what 2021 will bring for L.L.Bean in Canada,” said Greg Elder, vice president of retail and international of L.L.Bean.
Kastner said the Canadian market has been great for L.L.Bean. The customers are loyal and thrilled to be able to shop in stores in Canada as opposed to having to go to the U.S. or having to shop online for outdoor gear, footwear, and apparel.
“The common message is thank you for coming to Canada. They’re just really happy.”
L.L.Bean, Inc. is a leading multi-channel 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. L.L.Bean is a family-owned Maine company, led by Executive Chairman, Shawn Gorman, the great grandson of Leon Leonwood Bean, and Stephen Smith, President and CEO. It currently operates 54 stores across the United States and 28 stores in Japan. The 220,000-square-foot L.L.Bean retail store campus in Freeport, ME, is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and welcomes more than three million visitors every year.
The Jaytex Group, founded in 1978 is a privately-owned company with a diverse portfolio of private label and lifestyle licensed brands in Canada. Partners include Kastner, Eric Grundy, and Leo Grunberger.
“The e-commerce business has actually been fantastic. Even with the addition of the retail stores here, the e-commerce business continues to grow. This year will probably be one of the best in Canada in the company’s history. Lots of new customers. It’s been great for the brand in Canada across all channels.” said Kastner.