FREEPORT, Maine, March 9 /PRNewswire/ -- L.L.Bean announced today its fiscal 2006 business results as well as its intention to pay performance bonuses to employees. (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20050511/NEW029LOGO ) For the 2006 fiscal year ending February 25, 2007, L.L.Bean reported record annual net sales of $1.54 billion, a 4.6 % increase over 2005. The company also announced that its Board of Directors approved a cash award of 7.5 % of annual pay to eligible employees, a payout of approximately $25.5 million. An additional $8.8 million will be allocated to the pension plan, keeping the plan fully funded. "It's a well deserved bonus," said Leon Gorman, L.L.Bean's Chairman of the Board. "2006 was a year in which we made excellent progress on a variety of strategic initiatives important to the future of our business. We are pleased to be in the position of rewarding Bean employees for their achievements." Chris McCormick, L.L.Bean's President and CEO, expanded on the year-end results for 2006. "We had a strong start and strong finish to the fall and winter selling season," he said. "Although unseasonably warm weather had an impact on sales in December and early January, our business performed very well and the product line continues to hit the right mark with our customers." "I am very proud of all that we accomplished in 2006 through our employees' hard work and dedication," he continued. "It was an exciting year with a lot of energy and growth, including the opening of three additional stores, launching $90 million in investments in our hometown of Freeport, and making further progress on the international side of our business." 2006 L.L.Bean Year in Review - 2006 company net sales, a record $1.54 billion - a 4.6 % increase over 2005 net sales of $1.47 billion. - The regular workforce in Maine increased by 400 positions bringing the total to over 4,350. - E-commerce grew almost 10% and emerged as the company's dominant sales channel for the year. The award winning website had 73 million visitors in 2006, an increase of 13%. - 2006 was the single largest year ever for new customer acquisition, with 1.7 million new customers purchasing through one of three shopping channels. - The company opened several new store fronts in 2006: - New Bike, Boat & Ski Store on Main Street in Freeport. - Two stores in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, both built to US Green Building Council's LEED standards. - Four new stores in Japan, bringing the total to 15. - A new outlet store in Bangor, Maine. - Contributed $2.5 million toward conservation, recreation, health & human services, education and the arts. 2007 and beyond L.L.Bean will continue to be on the move in 2007. "As we celebrate our 95th anniversary, we are moving forward with a number of initiatives that will keep L.L.Bean on a path of growth while significantly enhancing the overall L.L.Bean customer experience," said McCormick. Company initiatives include: - L.L.Bean is investing over $90 million in its hometown of Freeport on the following projects: - A 335,000 square foot expansion of the company's Order Fulfillment Center is scheduled to open in early Summer 2007. - A revamp of the company's retail campus, featuring a 30,000 square foot Hunt/Fish store addition to its Flagship store will be completed in the Fall of 2007. - A retail complex and parking structure in lower Freeport village, developed in conjunction with partner Berensen Associates, is scheduled for completion in 2008. This development will provide hundreds of additional parking spots and bring 118,000 sq. ft. of new retail space to the downtown. - A new Data Center is scheduled to be completed in January 2008. - L.L. Bean is on track to open three new stores in 2007 in Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts, with plans for an additional five stores in 2008. - The company will continue to make significant new investments in its website that will improve functionality and ensure an enhanced customer experience. - Exploration is underway for expansion in International markets and boosting company presence in Canada. Bonuses and bonus eligibility L.L.Bean's Board of Directors approved the 7.5 % bonus for over 4,900 eligible employees. Regular employees and temporary employees who worked a minimum of 1,000 hours in the 2006 calendar year and who were actively employed through December 2006 will receive the performance bonus. Bonus disbursements to employees will be made on Thursday, March 29, 2007. Founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean, L.L.Bean Inc. began as a one-room operation selling a single product, the Maine Hunting Shoe. In 1967 L.L.'s grandson, Leon Gorman, took over as company president and led the company's transition to becoming the preeminent outdoor retail company it is today. With the company's modern day success as his legacy, Mr. Gorman assumed the role of Chairman of the Board in 2001, passing company leadership to Chris McCormick, the first non-family member ever to hold the position. While its business has grown and changed significantly over the years, L.L.Bean still upholds the values of its founder and continues his dedication to quality, customer service and a love of the outdoors. In the past 5 years L.L.Bean has donated over $6.3 million toward conservation and land stewardship. The 120,000 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. A privately held company, L.L.Bean does not publicly disclose financials.
SOURCE L.L.Bean Inc.