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July 23, 2019

L.L. Bean set to open first store in Canada

Courtesy / KMF146, FLICKR L.L. Bean, the Freeport-based outdoor gear and clothing retailer, is set to open its first Canadian store on Aug. 23.

L.L. Bean Inc., the Freeport-based outdoor gear and clothing maker, is set to open its first retail location in Canada this August with an assortment of products specific to the Canadian market.

Opening day is Aug. 23 at Oakville Place, a mall just outside Toronto, in a 13,000-square-foot store, L.L. Bean announced. About 20 employees are expected to be hired there, according to the mall's website.

The move makes good on L.L.Bean's plan announced last November to enter the Canadian wholesale and brick-and-mortar retail market through an exclusive distribution agreement with the Toronto-based Jaytex Group.

Jaytex is a privately held distributor of lifestyle brands in Canada, including the U.S. Polo Assn., British clothing brand Ben Sherman and Free Country casual outerwear and active wear.

As of last winter, the agreement gave Jaytex exclusive distribution rights for L.L.Bean's iconic Bean Boot.

Starting this fall, select L.L. Bean products will also be featured at various specialty retail stores including Sporting Life, Hudson's Bay and Mountain Equipment Co-op.

"We've historically had an active and loyal customer based in Canada," Steve Smith, L.L. Bean's president and CEO, said at the time. 

He added: "Developing a true omnichannel component, as well as new brick-and-mortar retail stores and a dedicated Canadian website will give our Canadian customers a better overall L.L. Bean experience and make it much easier to shop in the channel that's most conducive for them."

L.L. Bean already has a dedicated Canadian website and has a strong footprint in Japan, where it has grown from its first store in Tokyo opened in 1992 to 28 stores today.

The retailer also has a global website that serves over 200 countries and territories in different languages, with product prices converted into more than 60 currencies. L.L. Bean catalogs are shipped to more than 150 countries.

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