L.L. Bean on Jan. 23 said it had laid off 175 employees — or 4% of its 4,200-person workforce — in its biggest job reduction in seven years. Most of those affected were salaried marketing and merchandising employees in Bean’s Freeport, ME, headquarters. Hourly fulfillment center workers were unaffected.
The $1.1 billion outdoor gear and apparel cataloger had announced on Jan. 4 that layoffs were imminent, the culmination of a nearly four-year review and evaluation of its operations. Bean’s last major layoff occurred in 1995, when the company, whose Japanese business was hard hit by the Asian financial crisis, cut 350 positions through attrition or layoffs.
In addition to the 175 laid off, “a handful” of other Bean employees may be laid off throughout the year, says spokesperson Rich Donaldson. He couldn’t elaborate on the exact count or portions of the company affected. As for now, an undisclosed number of Bean workers will be reassigned to other positions within the company as the cataloger tries to gain greater efficiencies in its marketing and merchandising units.
In making the job cuts, the company is “striving for more consistency in voice in terms of what customers see from Bean, be it catalog, retail, or the Web,” Donaldson says. Rather than having separate teams of employees to develop content and creative for its three marketing channels, the same groups will now handle these areas for all channels.