Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

Updated: April 15, 2024

As customers move to online ordering, LLBean will trim call center staff, cut one shift

Store interior File Photo / Renee Cordes L.L.Bean, whose Freeport flagship store is shown here, said it will cut call center hours of operation to one shift starting July 15.

Citing changes in shopping habits, L.L.Bean said it will cut its call center hours to one shift and eliminate an unspecified number of positions.

The call center is currently staffed by 500 employees working two shifts from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. In response to lower call volumes, L.L.Bean said the hours will be 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., starting July 15, with only one daily shift.

"We don't have an exact number [of affected employees] yet as we are working to manage through severance-eligible voluntary departures and retirements with company benefits," Jason Sulham, a spokesman for the Freeport-based manufacturer and retailer of clothing, outdoor gear and home goods, told Mainebiz.

"This was just announced internally on Thursday afternoon, so it will be some time before we feel confident in providing numbers."

News of the planned layoffs was first reported by the Portland Press Herald.

“In this dynamic retail environment, a strategic challenge for us has been how to best serve our customers’ evolving needs and preferences,” L.L.Bean said in a statement emailed to Mainebiz over the weekend.

“As more of our customers choose self-service and shop through our digital and retail channels, customer contacts have declined over the last four years."

The statement noted that nearly 90% of the company's web and phone orders are now placed online and over 90% of inbound customer calls occur between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. "Simply put," the company said, "L.L.Bean customers shop differently today than in the past and we must adapt.

“Unfortunately, this does result in a reduction in staff. Impacting people’s jobs and schedules is never a decision L.L.Bean makes lightly, and we will be offering impacted employees severance, outplacement services and, for those who are eligible, company retiree benefits.”

L.L.Bean, led by President and CEO Stephen Smith, said the changes are not a reaction to current business conditions or part of a larger workforce reduction, but rather a strategic response to long-term customer trends.

The news comes less than a month after the company said its 2023 sales dipped to $1.7 billion from $1.8 billion in 2022. It also announced a lower employee bonus rate to 9% of annual pay for its 5,600 employees, down from 14.5% in 2022.

'Rowing together'

Reiterating that the call center changes are not a reaction to business conditions or performance, Sulham said there are no plans to scale back the ongoing $50 million Freeport campus renovation.

"Progress and excitement continue apace," he said.

Asked about employee motivation after the annual bonus cut, Sulham underscored that employee benefits and appreciation extend well beyond an annual bonus.

“Our employees are motivated by our purpose, our connection to the community, and the quality of our work," he added. "We are all rowing together to achieve our goals for 2024.”

Sign up for Enews

Related Content


Order a PDF