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L.L.Bean Opens 2nd Store in BC Market as Retailer Expands Across Canada: Interview

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Iconic US retailer L.L.Bean is capping off another busy year of expansion in the Canadian market with the opening of its latest store at The Amazing Brentwood in Burnaby, B.C.

Howie Kastner

Howie Kastner, President of the JAYTEX Group, L.L.Bean’s Canadian partner, said the latest store opening is the eighth in the country and fourth this year.

“We started opening stores in Ontario in 2019 and 2020 as the majority of our customer base was located there. This year we’ve expanded to other areas where we have a strong existing customer base. In addition to looking at each market objectively, we also dug into customer comments and feedback. A great example of that has been Halifax, where we have years of customer comments asking us to open a store,” said Kastner.

“We plan to add four new stores in both new and existing markets next year, building on the strategy of identifying where our customers are concentrated, where we can attract new customers, evaluating the market, and listening to customer feedback.

“We are very excited about continued growth in the market. Our focus on the customer has built strong and consistent growth in the market and we expect that to continue. The brand, products and our purpose fit the market well and will continue to support our expansion both digitally and in our continued store buildout.”

L.L.Bean at Amazing Brentwood

The first Canadian store opened August 2019 at Oakville Place. Stores then opened at Georgian Mall (Barrie, July 2020), Ottawa Train Yards (August 2020) and CF Shops at Don Mills in Toronto (October 2020).

This year stores have opened at the Mayfair Shopping Centre (Victoria, August), at Dartmouth Crossing (Nova Scotia, September) and Deerfoot Meadows (Calgary, September).

“Canadians have an amazing appreciation for the outdoors and how time spent outside has a positive impact on our physical and emotional health. They also appreciate high quality products that stand the test of time. Given our focus on creating products to help customers to get outdoors and keep them cozy when they come home, there is a natural affinity for the brand in the market,” said Kastner.

“Throughout the pandemic people have sought refuge in the outdoors, and L.L.Bean has enabled those pursuits while also making the inside more comfortable. As a result, stores have outperformed our expectations. We’ve been thrilled with the response both from our existing customers who are delighted to touch and feel the product after shopping online for years and from new customers discovering the brand for the first time.”

L.L.Bean at Amazing Brentwood

Kastner said the company has adapted the shopping experience to ensure the safety and health of its customers and employees, but if anything, the pandemic has crystallized its purpose – to enable and inspire everyone to experience the restorative power of the outdoors.

The newest L.L.Bean location in Burnaby is 12,541 square feet in The Amazing Brentwood, a mixed-use development featuring world-class shops, restaurants, public plazas, entertainment, and 6,000+ new homes. The development touts indoor/outdoor public space and design, size and scale, connectivity, and diverse retail offerings.

L.L.Bean will offer Burnaby shoppers an assortment of men’s, women’s and kid’s active and casual apparel, outerwear, footwear and gear, paired with what it calls its legendary customer service.

L.L.Bean at Amazing Brentwood
Grand Opening – L.L.Bean at Amazing Brentwood

The retailer launched its Canadian e-commerce site in the fall of 2018, followed by the introduction of a Canada-specific catalogue. Then it began its launch of brick and mortar stores into the market.

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.

L.L.Bean operates 57 stores in 19 states across the United States, along with 25 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 3 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.

Brokerage Oberfeld Snowcap represents L.L.Bean in Canada for its expansion under the direction of Andrew Laudenbach. L.L.Bean stores are typically in the 13,000-to-15,000-square-foot range, with some being larger or smaller. 

Additional Images from L.L.Bean at Amazing Brentwood

Image: L.L.Bean at Amazing Brentwood
Image: L.L.Bean at Amazing Brentwood
Image: L.L.Bean at Amazing Brentwood
Image: L.L.Bean at Amazing Brentwood
Image: L.L.Bean at Amazing Brentwood
Image: L.L.Bean at Amazing Brentwood
Image: L.L.Bean at Amazing Brentwood
Image: L.L.Bean at Amazing Brentwood
Image: L.L.Bean at Amazing Brentwood
Image: L.L.Bean at Amazing Brentwood
Image: L.L.Bean at Amazing Brentwood

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior National Business Journalist with Retail Insider in addition to working on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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